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  CSPAN    Capitol Hill Hearings    News/Business.  

    March 21, 2013
    1:00 - 6:00am EDT  

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israelis nervous just like there are folks back home who get nervous about areas they are not sure exactly where i stand on things. that is always why i asked that is always why i asked to talk directly to you guys. hopefully he will show me the live film instead of the edited version. i think you had four questions answered. [laughter] >> i think there is a misunderstanding about time. if iran decides to manufacturer a nuclear weapon, then it would take them about a year. i think that is correct. they could defer that a long time, but still get through the enrichment process, that is to make a weapon. you need two things -- enriched uranium of a critical amount and
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a weapon. you cannot have the weapon without the enriched uranium. you cannot have the uranium without the weapon. iran is enriching the uranium. it has not yet reached the red line i have described in my speech at the un. they are getting closer. the manufacturing of the weapon is a different thing. the president said correctly we have these issues, but on these matters and we share a common assessment. iran gets to an immunity zone when they get through the enrichment process in our view. whatever time is left, there is not a lot of time.
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every day that passes, it diminishes it. we do have a common assessment on the schedules and intelligence. we share intelligence. we do not have any argument about it. it is important to state that clearly. i think that people should get to know president obama the way that i have gotten to know. i think you heard something that is very meaningful. it might have escaped you, but it has not escaped me. the president announced that in addition to all of the aid his administration is providing, including iron dome and defense funding for israel during difficult times, he as announce that we will begin talk is on another 10 year process to ensure american military assistance to israel.
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this is very significant. i want to express my thanks for everything you have done. i went to thank you for the statement new made. it is very important. i think israelis will judge this by the unfolding events and what is taking place. there is a very simple answer to your question, the gentleman from nbc. this is second term president and third term prime minister. [laughter] >> thank you. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
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-- this is president obama's second trip to israel. >> the supplies were to be issued by a brigade and he hospital was to be created for each division and personnel and equipment were the same. when the battle is taking place and over, there is only one thoseper division that wagons would supply needs -- with supplyidens and need to go. to evacuate the wounded, get them to the right place, have enough supplies, there have to be a system. they transported the wounded to an aid station that is close to the field of battle. they did this avia structure.
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and this was no easy task. these men had to be trained. when the front structure bearer stepped off with his left foot, the rear step off with his right to decrease the jostling of the patient and to be facing poleward and able to get across. gettysburg had difficult terrain at times. >> this weekend on american history to become a battlefield edicine as it is kirk -- battlefield medicine at gettysburg. >> a discussion over the fate of the the purpose -- over the debate of the fiscal year 2014 budget. journal and live starting at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. comcast's ceo is talking by
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his vision for the future of his company, the media and technology industry. he is the keynote speaker at the economic club of washington. you conceive of life -- you can 12:30 p.m.e at eastern on c-span3. >> we can take pictures of the brain with scans and see the whole thing but there is a gap in the between about how the circuits in the brain function to be able to move my hand or to look at you and process that information or to lay down a memory. we do not know how that works. with technology yet to be invented, a lot of this will be nanotechnology, we need to be able to record from thousands of .rain cells at the same time as the brain activity map being
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talked about. getting to be a very exciting moment to put something together we could not have thought of. >> more with the nih director, dr. francis collins, sunday night at 8:00 on "q &a." >> according to an united nations, 70,000 have been killed since protests against syrian president assad. robert frod testified at a robert ford testified at a hearing. this is two hours and 15 minutes. >> this hearing will come to order. we need to review the syrian crisis. it was two years ago last week on the nightly news that we saw those protesters walking through the street, chanting, peaceful.
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what the world saw next without the syrian forces opened up with small arms fire on the marchers. over the ensuing weeks, that was followed by materially -- artillery barrage is and tanks and aerial apartment and finally i scud missiles into cities. we are now two years into that syria and uprising. for two leady years, u.s. policy has been a drift. the obama administration saw assad as a reformer in the works. then it bet on moscow to play a constructive role.
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this is the assad who is bombing villages in syria. this is the assad who is ordering teenagers tortured. frankly, he is engaged in murdering his populist. the ancient city is now in ruins. 70,000 syrians are dead. a million refugees has spilled into neighboring countries. destabilizing those countries. there are troubling reports that assad might be moving to unleash chemical weapons. the u.s. has been generous in supporting suffering serious, -- suffering syrians, but perhaps naïvely so. theas been funneled through un and other international organizations that are restricted to areas controlled
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by the syrian regime. that is absurd. only recently has the u.s. begun to push food aid directly to the syrian opposition. that shift should accelerate dramatically. i really wonder about providing any humanitarian aid through the un that ends up going to the regime at all. it indirectly helps assad and therefore presumably prolongs the conflict and the human suffering. humanitarian nightmare. it is also a great, strategic challenge. at the end of the day, it might be an opportunity for reform in the society in syria. it is an opportunity for assad
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gone. iran would lose a key ally, when critical to its terrorist operations, including against israel. that is why iran and hezbollah are massively stepping up their support of the job -- assad regime. they provide fighters on the ground. much of this weaponry is close to iraq. that cannot continue without consequences. unfortunately, jihadists groups are gaining popularity. they have convinced too syrians that they are on their side. many others are preparing for the day after his fall. syrian extremists are translating their battle success into authority over society as a whole, influencing schools and mosques.
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most of those extremists are from outside syria. many have shared with us their concerns about the influx of these foreign fighters. there are concerns with these extremists. to avoid a hostile syria armed with chemical weapons, we need to help better organize and empower the syrian opposition. though syrians who began the revolt by chanting, peaceful, peaceful. we have let them down. others worry about it deeply prolonged engagement. the british and the french have come to realize that the biggest winner has been assad.
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everything should be considered, but the u.s. could have the greatest impact through training, intelligence, and logistics. it has been said the u.s. has no good options in syria. that is probably true. stay away, as he mainly had -- as we mainly have, and bad things will continue to happen. get involved and good things might happen. all of this is incredibly unpredictable. the best thing he can do is realize what we can -- we can do is realize what we can and can't do.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for being with us today. toould like to take a moment recognize my friend who could not be here today. he is in israel. he is one of the most engaged members on this comput. -- on this conflict. the syrian uprising is about to enter its third year. shelterings are nearly 200,000 refugees respectively. the international aid has flowed to these countries in need of support. of the $1.5 billion of refugee aid, only 20% has been to should be did.
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we have to do more to ensure our humanitarian aid is reaching this critical populations. we can no longer look at this as a self-contained conflict. the fighting goes on. the potential for spillovers is too great. there are hezbollah fighters on the ground. iranian arms flow through syria to hezbollah. iranian revolutionary guard members are on the ground in syria providing training and racing malicious in the are trampled. iranian regime is providing telecommunications equipment. the collapse of the assad regime would be a devastating blow to iran and its ability to support has below -- to support has below and other terrorist -- to support hezbollah and other terrorist groups. i will be sending a letter to the prime minister to immediately ground cargo planes attempting to access our iraqi airspace.
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for the sake of regional stability, we and our partners must cooperate with urgency to bring this conflict to an end. the obvious question remains, what more should or can we do? secretary kerry says providing direct humanitarian aid is a positive step. the syrian people need to know that they have this the support of the united states. the european allies led by france and great britain are considering ways to provide legal assistance to the opposition. the argument for arming the opposition will shift the balance of power.
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what are the chances of a success if we do not provide assistance? onlyassad falls and it is a question of when, we need to ensure that our own security interest will be protected. this means a promise many new government that any powerful weapon will be secured and destroyed. tois our response ability determine whether this can be done that ensures arms will not fall into terrorist organizations. i'm encouraged the syrian opposition chose the prime minister for exile yesterday. time is of the essence. there are difficult decisions that must be made in the days
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and weeks ahead. we continue to push for un security council resolution. do we provide military advisers and training? do we provide direct military assistance? if so, what kind? can assad be pushed to accept any negotiated conflict? the use of chemical weapons -- makes this more pressing. the use of chemical weapons by this regime would be horrific. 70,000 slaughtered syrians is terrific. horrific. the discussions we have in this committee are interesting. the fact that this is hard cannot stop us from acting. you and your colleagues know better than anyone there are no easy answers. inaction is not an option. i look forward to your testimony and i yield back. thank you. >> thank you.
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three minutes to the chairman of the middle east subcommittee. >> thank you so much for holding this timely hearing as the a to debt -- two-year anniversary just passed. as the years of violence and internal struggles, the fighting continues and direction -- and the refugee crisis spreads the stability of the region. with over 1 million refugees, the numbers continue to rise and there is no clear end in sight. syrians took to the streets and protested, and this has turned into a full scale conflict to seek to establish an islamic state in the wake of assad's removal. the the movement has been coopted by extremists. that is why the united states
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must take with extreme caution any action that deals with opposition forces in syria. i respect the opinion of my colleagues but i do not believe it is time for the u.s. to arm the rebels. too many questions remain about who the rebels are and with whom they will swear allegiance. andunknown can be dangerous the vetting of the opposition is not enough when it comes to providing lethal aid that could be used against our allies or even the united states in a post-assad era. i am concerned about an assad stock pile of wmd's. we must examine the regimes that continue to help assad stay afloat. last week, the director of national intelligence testified, north korea's export of balistic and associated materials for several countries,
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including iran and syria, and the destruction of a nuclear reactor in 2007, illustrates this. to address this national security threat, congressman brad and i introduced the non- proliferation accountability act. this bipartisan bill prohibits assistance to any government that has provided assistance to iran, north korea, or syria. we welcome co-sponsors to our legislation. thank you so much. >> thank you. let me introduce our panel. ambassador robert ford is the american ambassador to syria.
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he has served as ambassador to algeria. ms. anne richard serves for the bureau of population refugees and migration of the state department. prior to her appointment, she worked for the international rescue committee, a committee committed to refugees and internally displaced persons. nancy lindborg is the assistant administrator for the bureau of the conflict. she was president of mercy corps. we welcome all of our witnesses today. without objection, the witness' full testimony, your full statements will be made part of the record.
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members may have five days to submit statements for record. i ask you to summarize your testimony within those five minutes. >> good morning. inviting very much for me to come talk with you today. i know our time is limited. i will keep my remarks brief. what started out as a peaceful demand for dignity and freedom has turned instead to a devastating conflict with a horrific human toll. syrians face a new level of ruthlessness which is raining scud missiles down on neighborhoods, bombing and schools and sending out its thugs into streets to terrorize and arrest fellow citizens.
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more than 70,000 syrians have died since the beginning of the conflict. that number is rising. more than 1 million syrians have left their homes in their country to seek refuge in neighboring countries, a number which could quadruple by the end of this year. it is very striking that jordan's fourth largest city now is the za'atari refugee camp. we are working to alleviate the human suffering. the united states is the largest bilateral human aid donor and my colleagues can tell you more about our humanitarian assistance effort. let me talk instead about how this can end. humanitariansing needs, the united states is acting.
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the united states is helping syrians who seek a government that will respect the dignity and the rights of all syrians and that will foster, not threaten, stability in the middle east. since 2012, the united states, along with international partners have recognized the coalition as the legitimate representative of the syrian people. the coalition has a diverse group of representatives inside and outside of syria. the coalition is committed to a democratic and inclusive government, free from the influence of violent extremists. now, it needs help providing basic services in liberated areas. secretary kerry in rome
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announced an assistence package to help the syrians on the ground inside syria and to provide food and medical supplies to the supreme military command of the free syrian army and to the syrian opposition council for those in aid is very important, especially to stall the complete collapse of state institutions, the point which the secretary has emphasized repeatedly. we perceive that a negotiated, political transition is the best long-term solution to the syrian crisis. the geneva communique, agreed upon by the united nations security council and turkey, calls for a transition
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government body to be set up with full executive powers formed on the basis of mutual consent between the opposition and the syrian regime. we cannot see how assad and his circle, who long ago lost their legitimacy, and whom the opposition will never accept, we cannot see how he and his circle could play a role in that transitioning governing body. he must step aside. we need to establish that transitioning governing body. it is not easy. how are we to get there? as secretary kerry has noted, we need to change assad's calculations because he still thinks he can win militarily.
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therefore, we are working with our partners to strengthen the opposition and to change the balance on the ground to help give the opposition the leverage they need to negotiate and to change his calculations. let me note here that the election of the prime minister for the coalition is a step forward. we look forward to working with him in the weeks ahead. we look forward to working with the congress as we seek to support the needs of the syrian people in their struggle to create a free, stable, and democratic syria. thank you. >> good morning chairman royce, ranking members, and members of this committee.
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this you for hosting hearing today. i am pleased to be able to appear before the committee with my colleagues. our offices work closely together to provide humanitarian aid to those affected by the violence in syria. the two-year anniversary coincides with another dark milestone. over one million refugees have fled syria. half of that number arrived in the last two months. i would like to share with you the approach taken to address the crisis and how it complements and reinforces what usaid does. refugeebe how the crisis is affecting the neighboring countries. i will not go into the details here. i invite questions from you on a very different set of situations we have seen in jordan, lebanon, turkey, and iraq. we recognize the huge strain the influx of refugees is placing on host countries.
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it is essential those countries continue to keep their borders open. officialseeting with from these countries, we thank them for allowing refugees to come across while protecting their own security. the bureau works closely with our colleagues. together, we lead the u.s. government's humanitarian response. we have traveled often to the region. on our most recent trip, we were joined by ambassador ford in turkey. the state department is helping to get as much humanitarian aid as possible to syria's conflict victims. there providing funding to united nations, red cross, and non-governmental organizations.
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these agencies bring technical expertise and operational capacity to respond to a crisis as large-scale as this. department's contribution totaled nearly $185 million to meet the basic humanitarian needs, both inside syria and in host countries. delivery of assistance is taken often at great personal risk. aid has been delivered in syria where thousands are in need of help. such movements are highly dangerous. people in need are not concentrated in one area. they can be found all around the shifting battle lines. aid is provided in a neutral manner.
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the united nations is seeking to get access to all communities in need on a regular basis. a is unacceptable and violation of humanitarian principles for the syrian regime to deny this access. the fighting has endangered the lives of palestinians. they are caught up in this crisis. even as the crisis explodes, there is a resource problem. the un regional response plan has received only 21% of what is needed. even if the assad regime falls soon, aid will likely to continue due to predicted flows of refugees that would continue to cross borders, likely in both directions. i have got my work cut out for me in terms of setting the record straight about the heroic efforts of aid in syria and pressing them to do as much as they can.
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i encourage the leaders to take on more risk and push the envelope. we are requesting a plan for every conceivable contingency. we are asking neighboring countries to work with us to ensure international aid and help us uphold international standards. in conclusion, my bureau's primary concern is providing protection, aiding those who have fled the violence. and returning peace to syria and see the refugees return home. yourld be happy to answer questions. >> chairman royce, members of the committee, thank you for inviting me to speak with you
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today. >> thank you. behind each of these statistics are profound stories of loss and particular impact on women and children. we have heard the stories in january elmi traveled to the region. it hits home how profoundly brutal this war is when you stand at the border of syria and jordan at night and watched thousands of families walk across that border. mainly women and children. few keyo cover a points. our humanitarian mandate is one of the most important expressions of who we are as americans and the u.s. government bills hoping those in need to out syria. since the conflict began two years ago, we have been the
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lifeline to more than to pour million people, including those in areas affected by the most violence. allre working through channels to the united states, international organizations, local syrian troops and networks to reach all in need throughout syria. we are working closely with the syrian opposition coalition, a systems coordination unit which is now playing a vital role. u.s. aid has a full-time liaison working with the acu to told that relationship share information and help the acu have greater capacity to do more. our assistance is reaching out for governance and approximately 60% of our aid reaches those in contested and
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opposition held areas. we have prioritized food, basic medical and tom care, release supplies. opened, and note to take daily bread first 210,000 people. we are supporting 144 hospitals, health clinics and mobile units providing essential care, looking at the needs of women and children affected by the conflict. my second point is that all of this is not enough. the growing crisis is outpacing the international response capacity. the single biggest factor limiting humanitarian aid is that we need more access across battle lines, we need across the border access. we are not able to reach everyone in need. .here are not enough resources
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there is not enough money to reach the scale of this need. we continue to urge all countries to follow through in the generous commitments they made at a pledging conference in kuwait. it is imperative for all countries to step toward, to share the burden. we invite you to add your voice is to that call. security is a constant concern. every day i get reports of humanitarian aid workers who have been kidnapped, targeted, clinics and bakeries bombed. just last month, 3 u.s. -- usaid funded medical clinics were bombarded. 10 were killed. to protect our humanitarian partners, to insure the eight can continue and reach those in granting mostot of our assistance -- branding most of our assistance.
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the american people are standing by them in this hour of need. with ourorking iwt partners to find ways to safely in selectively brand. they are indeed intensively with local leaders at every level to make sure they understand where the aid is coming from. we edify support through official visits to the region -- we amplify support through official visits to the region. this hearing is a wonderful opportunity to further that message. in addition to humanitarian assistance, the us is investing in serious transition to help the syrian opposition deliver. we recognize the need to deliver needs now.syrian
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we are working with them now to identify party products, immediate and longer-term, that can help the syrians. our continued assistance is a vital investment in the stability of the region that is at the heart of our u.s. national security assistant. our humanitarian assistance, and the blood shed by is saving millions of lives -- humanitarian assistance will not end the bloodshed but it is saving millions of lives. thank you. >> thank you. i want to ask a question of embassador ford. it goes to the director of national intelligence comments here to congress recently. increasingly he said, and increy
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beleaguered regime might be prepared to use chemical weapons against the syrian people. i would know many of us doubt the syrian government would risk foreign interference but the point camel weapons. there are reports yesterday of chemical weapons used, as you have seen. i was going to ask you what you could tell us on that. >> so far, we have no evidence to substantiate the reports that chemical weapons were used yesterday. i want to underline we are looking very carefully at these reports. we are consulting with partners in the region and in the international community. more broadly, we have been very clear from the beginning about our concern that, as the assad regime's military situation deteriorates, and it becomes ever more beleaguered, that it might be tempted to use chemical weapons.
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the president has been cleared and saying if assad makes the mistake of using chemical weapons or if they fail to meet their obligations to secure them, there will be consequences and they will be held accountable. >> what would those consequences be? >> in a hearing like this, i absolutely do not want to go into hypothetical. weo want to underline that take these reports and possibilities very seriously. and we are using all of our available means to determine exactly what happened. >> you raise another point. that is to the transfer of other weapons going through iraq, by airspace or by land, and to
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syria last week, we had a report that the regime was increasing assistance to the assad regime. the observation is this is the lifeline, not just the foreign fighters, but the ammunitions being flown in. it is being utilized throughout civilian aircraft, personnel are flying in through airspace, as well as the weapons. we see that and we see at the same time hezbollah on the ground now in syria. this has been raised several times for the government in iraq.
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the government there is wrapping this up. -- ramping this up. thee really grasped strategic opportunity here, it seems like one of the easiest things we could do would be to lean on the iraqis and get this process halted. i was going to ask how hard has the administration weighed in with the iraqis, what has been tried to get them to cease and desist, and how congress -- how might congress help make the job clearer and easier for the administration, if that is what is necessary. >> thank you for that. a couple of things i would like to note. the iranian relationship to the regime is not new.
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as you noted, the assistance to the regime now in this conflict has grown substantially. i could cite, for example, the iranian revolutionary court lost a general in syria. they have lost other personnel, as well. i do not want to fail to mention lebanese hezbollah is planning a pernicious role. seeingre supports we are now of iraqi shia extremists going to places like the neighborhood of damascus. this is a serious problem. it is prolonging the conflict. we have raised on multiple occasions the officials. i have done so myself when i visited baghdad in the end of last year.
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we had an official in washington. very recently, two weeks ago. we raised it during bit -- visits here in washington. we will keep pressing the iraqis. we want the government to understand it has no interest in having an extremist government in syria. the longer the conflict continues, the greater the influence of extremists on the ground. iraq should be working with us to get that negotiated settlement i talked about. ourt seems to me with capacity to put pressure on other governments, with respect to trying to bring change in syria, we are certainly missing an opportunity, given that the flow of these fighters are over iraqi territory and they are not assisting.
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we are missing the opportunity in terms of a direct conversation about the securities assistance we have provided and the means whereby we could, frankly, force iraq to at least be part of the solution rather than part of the problem here. again, can you think of anything definitive that has been shared with the iraqis on that front? >> let me assure you we have had very direct conversations with iraqis. i, myself, have. our ambassador in baghdad has. officials here in washington, the white house, the state department. there is a senior official here from baghdad a week before last. we have been very direct with
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them about the importance of not allowing iran to exploit the crisis in syria and it is not helpful to iraqi interests, as well as the region's interests. >> thank you. >> i will follow up with questions. you have pressed the iraqis, you have been directed them. the transfer of iranian arms is a suspect to embargo. -- is subject to u.n. embargo. there is so much at stake here, if you could -- what specific leverage might the united states employed in those direct discussions that are taking place with the iraqis? intodo not want to go great detail here about our discussions with iraqis. we have discussed the united states resolution with the
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iraqis. in a sense, in the end, what matters is the government of iraq understand that its own interests will be best served not by facilitating the iranian efforts to prolong the crisis in syria, but rather in bringing about a transitional government that will have good relations with the government in iraq. >> understanding by the iraqi government would be helpful. action by the iraqi government would be necessary to ensure this takes place. i would like to focus on two types of aid. one is military. there is a difference of opinion here on capitol hill.
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about whether or not provide direct military assistance to the opposition. the argument is made that it is really hard to know where these weapons are going, that they might wind up in the wrong hands. ist, as we assess this, it too difficult for us to be able to decide how to get this into the right group's hands. do you agree with that? the fact that it is hard, does 70,000 dead syrians, does that make it easier for us to assess the possibility of doing this? >> first, let me say all of us working on the syrian issue are incredibly saddened by the human toll in syria. i was there and i visited the people.
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whatwere peaceful and happened to them is atrocious and what happened to other syrians is atrocious. with respect to direct military assaults -- assistance, our policy is not to provide military assistance to the supreme military council. we regularly reviewed this. be clear about that. our policy is not to provide such assistance. we are focused in our effort in convincing both sides of the importance of a political solution and getting them to that negotiated political deal. we have taken a major step in terms of our relations with the supreme military commander by for the first time providing food and medical assistance to it to those in syria in need.
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we are not providing direct military -- >> i understand and i am not suggesting immediate change. i am suggesting this is an important conversation for us to have and it needs to take place right now. i am asking if you agree it is too difficult for us to identify who should receive those arms if the policy were to change? >> as we review whether or not to provide direct military assistance, we do it within the context of trying to decide if it would help us get to the political settlement that we think is the only way to get to the long term park -- long-term crisis. the question you asked is not the only question we take into consideration. >> i appreciate that. what you described at the end of your testimony, you commented it is a wonderful opportunity to give your message.
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i hope in all the discussions that take place here about whether or not to provide military assistance and working with the opposition and doing all of the things we need to to ultimately push assad out that there is a very clear understanding about the work that you and the agency does every single day, the work you do every day, to address this humanitarian crisis and, most importantly, your efforts to make sure the syrian people understand that even as we have all these other discussions, the united states of america is committed to working to address this humanitarian crisis in a very serious and very concerted way.
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i want to pass on my sincere thanks and i hope you get the attention that is deserved, perhaps as the result of this hearing. >> thank you. thank you to all of the panelists. i wanted to ask three questions, first on the rebels, who are these guys? and on the countries that are aiding passat -- assad. on the rebels' lack of cohesive structure and they continue to expand their operations, but to what end? you believe there is greater cohesion in the opposition forces and, if so, will that fix? some syrian rebels have been designated as foreign terrorist organizations. they have captured u.n. peacekeepers after being released later.
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the u.s. must take necessary precautions and due diligence. can you give us more about then opposition? they are not just syrian national. they are far and fighters who have the islamic militants from neighboring countries. who will govern in a post-aside syria? on weapons of mass destruction, are reports correct the syrian regime might possess up to 50 tons of weapons-grade nuclear materials in its stockpile? if those reports are true, will the u.s. call for an emergency meeting to discuss this and if assad does not grant inspectors immediate access to all nuclear facilities and stockpiles so they can be protected, will the u.s. impose and mediate, comprehensive, and painful sanctions?
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will we do sell acting with the european union? lastly, on the countries that are aiding the brutality of assad's regime, these countries continue to provide military assistance, weaponry, and they seek to further the illegal weapons program in supporting these foreign terrorist organizations. what can we do to hold these regimes accountable for supplying the syrian regime with armed helicopters, military equipment, during the human rights crisis. inlight of russia's policy syria, i believe the obama administration's string of concessions to moscow must stop. i wanted to hear your thoughts on the rebels, and what will we do with countries that are helping syria?
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>> with respect to the rebels and who they are, i divide them into two categories. oppositionlitical and military opposition. both are not entirely unified, although, on the political side, the coalition that shows the prime minister yesterday, they are more and more unified. they have representatives from inside and outside the country. on the armed opposition side, they have established a supreme military command headed by a man whom i have met several times. he has said to us and others that he will respect a political deal worked out by the political opposition.
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he does not perceive that the threat -- the free syrian army should have a political role in the future of syria. to be very frank, that is one of the reasons we decided to provide direct food and medical assistance to his command to help him within the context of the broader syrian opposition to iraq's let me also add, with respect to your question on weapons of mass destruction, even when i went out as ambassador several years ago, this is a huge issue. it has become even more of a concern, given our worries about the regime and its desperate military situation using chemical weapons. we continue to talk regularly to the international atomic energy agency in vienna.
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we continue to urge that the syrian regime be completely transparent about what it has been doing with respect to its nuclear program. with respect to access, we have long wanted that. we argued for it consistently. with the fighting in the area now, we would have to find out if it would want to go. >> you can address that at another time, the other question. thank you for the time. thank you, ambassador. >> thank you. we will go to david. >> thank you. thank you for convening this important hearing. thank you to the witnesses for their testimony. two questions. secretary carey has said the policy of the united states is to change aside = = assad's -- assad's calculations. i would like your assessment as
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to whether or not there is any evidence he has begun to change his calculation in that direction and whether or not there is a set of individuals the opposition might be prepared to negotiate with and whether the geneva framework makes any sense or if there is any prospect for its -- for resolution. i want to also thank you for the work you and your agency are doing. thank you for your testimony. i am particularly interested if you would share with us some of the work being done to protect syrian women and girls. there have been reports from a recent u.n. report about the devastating consequences of the conflict on women and the rape of syrian women who are fleeing syria to countries where they are not finding better conditions and incidences of rape and forced
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marriage and child marriages and the like. if you could share with us some of the work being done to protect cyrian girls and women, i would be grateful. >> with respect to changing assad's calculations, i am not a psychiatrist. i have seen his statements where he said he would never leave syria. maybe he is tearing -- telling the truth. i do not know. we also know the military balance is turning against the regime. they lost the capital at the end of february. captured the regime's governor and other officials. they have lost control of the border along turkey and iraq. there is heavy fighting now in damascus. we have been getting messages from the syrians that there was heavy fighting right up close to where the president lives.
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it certainly would have been rattling his windows. will he then decide to negotiate and to save himself? we want a negotiated political deal as the best means to get a sustainable, new government that has to be agreed upon by the different sides to the conflict. that does not mean we will ask the supreme military command to implement a cease-fire. we would like to see negotiations. i was struck the regime has offered to rescind a delegation, but i do not know if that is serious. has to be to discuss the geneva framework for a transition government in which assad has no part. >> thank you very much for your question. i would start by saying when i was there in january, it was with a group of young including young women
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who had to give up their dreams of being lawyers and finish their college education. i got a series of text messages from them to promote a campaign to organize that we supported, very much focused on bringing attention to special needs of women in conflict. we take this seriously globally. we have also brought in a rape kits and counselors. it is important after a sexual assault to get treatment. we are working with partners to provide special counseling for the many children who are affected by this who are traumatized now. ofs has impact for the rest your life to go through this. many children are being caught in the crossfire. it is brutal. my colleague might want to say
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something about the particular plight of women in refugee camps. >> we are working with groups in jordan and turkey to ensure that aid is provided to women and corals -- and girls who have suffered and fled syria. we have heard very credible reports that one of the things they are fleeing from israel. in the refugee camp, we are giving fund in refunding -- funding. >> there was an article which appeared in the national review recently. silententitled, the exodus of serious christians. it started out 2 million or so. to some degree, it is similar to iraq when there was a war
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taking place there and christians were targeted, murder, kidnapped, raped, all kinds of a horrific things happening. there has been a relationship between the regime and some of the christian community, as well. that clearly exists and it is a complicating factor. they are a particular threat from -- there is a particular threat from islamic groups. what has the administration been doing about it. what should we be doing? one quote in the article is that the ethno-religious cleansing
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taking place could soon see syria emptied of christians. it has been getting tremendous coverage in the media. >> thank you. i think this underscores the fragmentation happening in syria and the ways in which so many particular groups are being targeted and friend. humanitarian assistance on the basis of need, regardless of who you are. we are seeking to get into all the 14 governments, and many of the christian communities are concentrated in the christian valley. we are ensuring the assistance is getting their through our partners, as well as in a few pockets of the suburbs. this is something we are watching, along with all the groups that are vulnerable. >> do either one of the other witnesses want to touch on this? and that's it? >> a couple of things i would
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like to emphasize. i was in iraq for almost five years. i saw what happened to the christian community there. was terrible. they are still often under threat. i am very sensitive to that. the administration is very sensitive to that. a couple of things i want to highlight. we are deeply concerned about the threat of islamic extremists within the syrian opposition. that is why the administration designated the front in december 2012 as an affiliate of the al qaeda organization in iraq. we did that specifically to warn others in the syrian
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opposition of the risks they take by working with the front. haveencouraged that there been instances now where other syrians who want a tolerant society, other syrians who believe all syrians should be treated equally without respect to their religion or ethnicity, are starting to push back in some instances. there is a great deal of concern. i want to assure you, i
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mentioned i have met people the pre syrian army, and we have highlighted the worries of minority groups and christians, not that we are against the sunni majority of syria. we are not. the minorities are nervous and there might -- their rights must be protected and respected. we hear good things from them. i can tell you for example that they have met christian leaders from some of the communities in syria and have told us afterwards that their meetings were populated. we have to keep pushing in that direction. >> thank you. if you could touch on the chemical weapons issues. was called a red line and there
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have been reports as recently in the last 24 hours about what is actually happening on the ground, whether they have been used, whether they will be used. if you could just talk about what the administration is doing to prevent the transfer of these weapons to groups. thank you. >> we viewed this issue with extreme seriousness. it is incredibly important to us. we approach it on several fronts. right now, we are trying to verify reports we have seen recently about the use. there are reports of being used in the north and the domestic -- damascus suburbs. we are trying to verify those reports. we are talking to our partners about what they have been able to find out. in addition, we have had regular discussions with other countries who have influence with the syrians to urge the regime to not use these weapons and instead maintain tight control over them. and to pass the warning there would be consequences and there would be accountability for those members of the regime that would ever think of using these things. >> thank you. >> i listen and read all the comments regarding syria.
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i always read about these keywords that we want to negotiate. we want to talk. we want a political solution. we want dialogue as the best way to go. my concern is that this man is a criminal now. for what he has done to his people. if you come to a solution where there is dialogue, where somehow he says, let's talk, somewhere along the line, he have to be held responsible for what he has done to his people. i hope in this dialogue and conversation and those keywords i read all the time on of these articles, that somewhere along
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the line, and he is held responsible for the criminal acts he has done to its people. -- to his people. >> several things on that. we do not say a dialogue because this is not about having a conversation between the opposition and the receipt -- and the regime. this is about negotiating. >> is the same thing. >> they matter here because we are talking about him stepping down and setting up a new transition governing body. with respect to accountability, we have said he should be held accountable and that members of his regime, with buckets of blood on their hands, also should be held accountable. train actually helping syrian investigators to prepare dossiers. this is on going. the bureau is undertaking this along with the ambassador, for
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war crimes. we are training syrian investigators so they can prepare dossiers to be used in meetings. to syrians themselves have decide by what mechanism they hold people accountable. we are anxious to provide them the capabilities to pursue people in this way. >> thank you. can you talk a little bit about the role in russia? i know they are supportive and i know yesterday the ambassador said about the rebels. can you talk a little bit about the usual coyness? >> congressman, we saw the
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russian statement that the syrian army yesterday used chemical weapons. we have no evidence to corroborate that and we are very skeptical of it. we will look at it. our initial impression is we are very skeptical. with respect to the russian position, they say they are not attached to assad. they signed up to the geneva framework i have talked about. however, we would like us to go far beyond that. we would like to stop delivering arms systems to the syrian government. conversationgoing we have had with them. we would also like the russians to join the rest of the international community in the very tight economic sanctions regime, which we have developed with the countries in the middle east and the japanese and other countries.
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we would welcome the countries joining that, all with the goal of getting to a sustainable political solution. >> can you talk about the issue of branding a little bit? it seems we can put our name on some of the food or whatever material we delivered to syria. how would they know we are the ones assisting them? >> i am happy to share a little bit. assessment the minister to talk about -- the assistant administrator to talk about this. we understand the utility of syrians seeing $385 million in american distance going in to
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help syrians in need. we are the largest off bilateral donor. there are something -- nancy, do you want to say more? >> we look every opportunity where we can ran safely. -- and that we are able to save lives in this difficult crisis. if we do so in a way that further endangers the aid workers, it threatens not only our very brave colleagues, but it also will shut down the overall enterprise.
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it is a delicate balance. we are also looking at all the other ways to get the word out. all the other ways to communicate directly to the syrian people that the american people are standing with them. >> thank you. andhank you all for coming being here. mr. ambassador, i understand you are not the president but you have probably been in conversations i have not. one of the reasons this hearing is so important is i can't take you on a journey right now. i want to ask you to go on that journey with. that is trying to figure out
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what our foreign policy is. i have had a very hard time doing that. i am stumped on the answer in syria. i do not know what the answer is. we have waited so long to really do anything. it reminds me of iran in 2009 and we saw an opportunity against the regime. i find ourselves in a situation now where i do feel like we are reacting to this situation and if we go back to the beginning of the conflict and the net -- and the initial uprising of assad, you have the iran receive supporting the syrian regime on the one hand, and syrian fighter -- freedom fighters on the other hand. at that time, you could assume extremism would not have the ability to organize to this -- to the great extent they probably organize now. at the beginning, and i am asking yolks because you're at -- asking you because you were
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at these compositions, against a regime that is a supported obama -- supported by iran? i will keep it short because there is a lot i want to ask. >> to be very brief, congressman, i, personally, do not agree we waited so long. we were helping democracy activists when i'd was in syria in 2011. we were doing a lot to help them. >> what was the reason to hold legal aid at that point? >> a lot of people in syria did not want outside interference in their uprising, the revolution. for a long time. through 2011. the syrians themselves wanted their demonstrations to be peaceful. armedid not want foreign intervention. they were bitterly criticizing iran for their intervention. >> i am talking about when it came to a shooting war. i am trying to figure this out because i do not know the answer. this is a difficult quandary. let me ask another question.
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when we talk about the red line and the use of chemical weapons, i know this has been hammered, especially by the chairman, we will find out what happened. it is a matter of time if we find out whether they had chemical weapons. a red line is supposed to be a red line, a point you do not cross. the president said, if you use chemical weapons, that is a red line. now i hear there's a shifting redlined really are -- we are talking about the transfer of nuclear weapons. it seems like a yellow line. my mind of a red line is to make it very clear. if you use chemical weapons against your people, we will devastate your ability to use chemical weapons against your people. the result of that would be a deep thinking about whether we
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will use chemical weapons against our own people because we know our ability to do so will be devastated. is russia frightened of our involvement with syria or are they happy with our situation right now and the approach we're taking? >> congressman, i am not a spokesman for the russian or iranian foreign ministry. the very nature of the iranian reactions suggest they are nervous. they are pluffing up their people on the ground and what they are sending in. that does not sound like a confident stance to me. they should be nervous. i mentioned how the military balance has shifted strongly. >> is it a nervousness because of the situation on the ground or because of what we are doing? are we helping that nervousness? >> absolutely. let me give you an example. a lot of this war is being fought on video. much of the equipment that provides the youtube videos that we see comes from us. we are the ones helping the opposition both get information from the outside world through the internet and also to upload stuff back to the rest of the planet earth. we have worked very closely with the provincial resolution council to make sure they can stay in touch. >> thank you. >> i hope this is not an extension of what was made famous of the lead behind its
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strategy. when america retreats from the world, i think chaos ensues. >> thank you. thank you to the witnesses for joining us here today. ambassador ford, as he stated, our goals are to see the assad regime leave as soon as possible, retaining syrian national unity and an emergence of a new syrian government that enhances security. as we look at that and are developing our strategy, what events might be indication that our desire and stated objectives are not achievable and if we see those, what are alternatives if national unity is not achievable?
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>> we worry about the collapse of the state. i cannot mean the government of bashar al-assad. we think he will go in any case but collapse of state institutions. we have seen that in other places and we do not want to see the syrian government disappear. institutions of state, where we see that degrading further, that would be a sign that things are going worse. will help extremists. that is why we are increasing our assistance to these areas that have been liberated from government control and where state institutions are failing. we are directly helping local councils which have been set up
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by the syrian revolution. we will work very closely with the prime minister to funnel assistance into these local councils so they can prevent the full collapse of state institutions. that is our biggest concern in terms of maintaining unity in keeping syria from being an operating base for terrorist extremists helping maintain security. >> if unity is not achievable, what is our best alternative? >> congressman, i think today, we can get to a solution that maintains the unity of syria. the different groups in syria represented in this coalition i
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talked about all want to maintain syria's unity. even the foot soldiers of al-assad's list army are not calling for the division of country. are not think syrians
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looking to divide their state. government that the will look entirely different from how the last government did. politicaline lots of scenarios where you can work out a deal between the groups >> taking in more regionally, we have refugees in turkey, overwhelming in jordan and lebanon on. long-term, this becomes a financial burden of political risk to these countries. what do we need to make sure we do everything necessary so that does not happen? >> our conversations with these neighboring countries -- they have explained to us the strains and burdens this is putting on their societies. there are economic strains and also attentions between the groups in those countries like in lebanon, for example. we talked about questions and i thought about how christians and muslims live together in
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lebanon on but when you have these extra burdens put on the country, and provoked tensions among different communities. what congress can do is continue to provide assistance so we can support these countries. in some cases such as jordan, we have a bilateral assistance relationship. even in turkey we can do discrete things by providing assistance through non- governmental organizations are having technical experts provide assistance even though the turks are very much in the lead of their own camps. i realize that asking for more money at this current time in this environment on capitol hill kind of goes against the grain but that is the key way that we can convert our good intentions to real, live aid and make a difference in people's lives on the ground. >> in my testimony are some of the ways we are rushing to help communities who are strained by the influx of refugees, and working with the governments of both these countries to provide additional support. it is an important question, one we are deeply focused on. >> thank you, mr. chairman and folks on the panel for your attendance. ambassador ford, i am wondering regarding the redline, i want some specifics -- what are the
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possible consequences, and i share your current skepticism, what are the range of possible consequences the american people can expect from the administration as a response? >> congressman, i really do not want to speculate here about hypothetical situations. what i do want to underline that the president has said there will be consequences and that we will seek strongly that the people who use chemical weapons be held accountable. exactly what those consequences would do today, i cannot -- >> have consequences been discussed that you know of? >> i am very certain that they have. i do want to underline how seriously we take the reports. >> i appreciate that. but i think it is important for the world and congress and americans to know what we can expect to see so we can have that discussion because if it happens, it will be very quick and we do not want to be in a position of monday morning quarterbacking after the fact to make sure we got it right. i understand your reluctance. i am not talking about hypothetical situations. we have to have a plan and we should know what those plans and possibilities are. with that, do we know with any certainty what kind of wmd's,
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whether it is choking agents, what are we talking about? >> the syrian government has the largest stock of chemical weapons and in the country in the region and it includes the things he mentioned. because we cannot yet state with certainty that chemical weapons have been used in the last days, i cannot tell you what happened. i can tell you that we have a large team of people working on its right now. and i understand your concerns about explaining to the american people but first we need to understand what exactly has happened, if anything. atright now we're looking the anniversary of iraq and a lot of folks are questioning, what has happened there and why did we do that and what did we get out of it? we don't want to end up there again and we should learn from those mistakes. we don't want the current administration to make the mistakes of in the past administrations. with that and your characterization of the stockpiles syria has, i think the american people and the world see two outcomes. assad has little impetus to do anything but stay there. if he leaves willingly, he will be tried for war crimes and spent his life in prison.
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i think that's a fait accompli at this point. what safeguards are in place regarding cross border material transportation of the things we discussed? >> we understand the risk you are talking about. in terms of leakage of materials, which is why we have underlined two of the syrian authorities that these materials have to stay in in their sight and have to stay secure. >> let me clarify -- the syrian authorities you are talking about are the ones currently in power? >> correct. but i would also say i have met the general and we have told him that we would view their using these kinds of weapons as completely unacceptable. >> what safeguards have you discussed regarding border control of these agents other than telling the current regime do not do anything with them. what are we doing proactively to make sure they do not end up a in the wrong hands? >> the neighboring states, we have different kinds of bilateral programs with iraq, with jordan, lebanon.
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certainly with turkey. we have a regular conversation on the question of the syrian chemical weapons stocks and what is to be done about it. what i can tell you here is that we are looking to be helpful with them to address those risks and each government is taking differing responses according to its differing needs. >> thank you very much, ambassador. mr. faleomavaega. >> thank you. i just wanted to ask secretary richard with your understanding of refugee issues, what is happening -- do you see a similar pattern in what took place in rwanda in terms of the crisis? do you consider syria, we are going through the same situation we found ourselves rwanda and darfur?
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>> the difference between syria and rwanda as that rwanda was carried out by large numbers of people using very simple instruments and they set upon their neighbors and the slaughter them over a quick period of time. in syria, we see months and months that people are being killed by their own government, from the sky. the refugees we talked to in jordan were talking about a barrel bombs. they would come down, explode, and take out large groups of people. then also as robert discussed, scuds being used to destroy a city blocks. the results are the same. lots of innocent lives lost in a senseless way. >> our current policy, there is no military assistance to be given to the syrian opposition forces but it is ok for russia and iran and even north korea continue to supply the assad
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reginme with the things they needed so he can continue killing his own people. you see a contradiction here in terms of us being an observer of all this and the killing continues because countries like russia and iran -- and by the way, iraq allows iran their space to transfer so-called medical supply and i am told it is all military hardware that needs. can you help us figure this out? >> congressman, our policy is not to get military assistance. however, it is not factually right to say the united states thinks it is ok for other countries to provide assistance to the outside regime. i did say that we have urged the russians not to send military equipment to the assad regime. we have asked the russians to join us and the rest of the international community in putting pressure on the assad regime. we have been at the forefront of countries denouncing iranian behavior in syria. the united states first started talking about it publicly. the same with north korea. we have had sanctions in place on iran and north korea as well as on the syrian regime
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precisely because of this kind of behavior which we find destabilizing, not only in syria, but to the broader middle east region. >> the question on the chemical and biological weapons -- i'm told according to reports that the syrian officials had given every assurance that the stockpile of chemical weapons are fully secured under the supervision of the military, will never be used unless syria faces external aggression. i am sure you are familiar with that. does that sound like an invitation from the assad regime? does that seem to be the danger we face ourselves with? remarksve studied this very carefully. you have hit exactly what concerns us. at the military balance schists steadily against the regime and gross more desperate, they will try some ruse and end up using them themself. that is why we take the reports the last couple of days very seriously and you're trying to
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determine what happened. >> thank you. mr. weber is recognized. >> thank you, madam chairman. ambassador, would you outline whether it is hezbollah, al qaeda, the external forces working in syria to overthrow assad. kind of in order of their strength in your opinion. then let's outlined what you see post assad syria looking like. who ends up with the most power after he leaves? >> congressman, there are a variety of external actors now in the syria crisis. there are some that are trying to get rid of them like the al qaeda affiliate. we think the are a minority within the armed opposition, maybe 15%.
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>> who is the no. 1 external influence? al qaeda >> marks against the regime, yes. there are other countries also involved in the fight against assad's regime but what concerns us are the extremists and at the top of that list -- >> enumerate the extremists. >> there are a number of groups. >> how strong are they? >> smaller but their strength varies location to location. in a lot of these are localized groups. what is interesting is it has a national command and it is more dangers that way. >> the influence of those groups on a post-assad government? >> they did not allow an extremist group to join the military command. we think they will resist the influence of those groups after
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assad departs. i mentioned already that in syria we see some places where groups have tried to impose religious courts and generated negative reaction near aleppo and down in damascus. we have seen places where they have tried to impose imam in mosques, replacing them with foreigners. what i think is important is that in this revolution, there are two competing visions of a future syria. one is an islamic extremist vision supported by this al qaeda affiliate's and others and there is a vision promoted would be a tolerant syria which respects the rights of all serious equally. onwant to weigh in strongly behalf of those who advocate that second vision.
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>> that goes without saying. what is the chance that will happen? we do not want them to end up in anti-american hands. hisecretary kerry during visit to the middle east recently highlighted that we are increasingly confident that countries that are providing assistance can do so in ways so arms to not get in the hands of extremists. this is something we talked to them daley about. >> does assad know that? >> absolutely. i think today he is back yet decided his days are numbered and that he will have to leave. >> what advice would you give us to expedite that decision?
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>> i hope congress will work with us to strengthen the syrian opposition. i hope congress will support our efforts. we need all the pressure we can get on the iraqis to get them to see whether long-term interests are best bound. we need to show support of a tolerant society. >> thank you. >> i want to follow up on a couple points the ambassador was making. you mentioned, is to be helpful by helping to strengthen the syrian opposition and that is where i wanted to center my questions. you described two centers of power -- the military and interim prime minister who i guess was voted in yesterday with 35 votes out of 63 members of the coalition.
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what these centers of power -- with these centers of power, i want you to elaborate a little more. i'm concerned who this is we would be charming. some of these folks are from assad's military who defected.
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correct me if i am wrong. what do you think of the military subordinating itself to military leadership? >> thank you, congresswoman. i understand the concerns about arming. with respect to the political side, we think -- let me say something about the prime minister this elected. he was happily in texas and gave up work there to work on behalf of syrians and to help organize humanitarian assistance efforts. nancy's people in turkey worked with him there. he is a capable manager. karzai'sthat background? wasn't he happily in texas, too?
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>> in the end the syrian opposition said it transitional government would have to be established. whether or not he has a role in that is not determined. we view this as a short-term step to help provide services and humanitarian assistance into areas of syria liberated from regime control. that is how he defines his role. he spoke yesterday to the press in turkey about that. his long-term prospects politically, i cannot speak to. i do not think that is what they are thinking about now. urgentve much more problems with respect to the outflow of refugees into the neighboring countries and the dire circumstances of syrians inside syria >> you mentioned what we were
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concerned about was the collapse of the state. hasn't the state collapsed? does it have any legitimacy? betweene a distinction legitimacy and the collapse. central damascus is very much under government control. but in areas where the government's control has receded in the north and east, their system in large part has stopped working. these were huge problems in iraq can years ago. >> thank you. i want to thank ms. lindborg for all the work usaid does. you mentioned the rape kit. withthe capacity to deal that?
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>> is limited but it is important that through the provision of those supplies, even regular supplies that women need, and those who experienced violence, it is limited but it is part of how we train those who are participating in the clinics and hospitals we support. you are a web of a champion of women, i want to make another comment. part of supporting this tolerance secular vision is also supporting the strong syrian women to have a voice and be a part of that future. along with our state colleague, we are providing support and training for a group of women who put together a charter for certain women. this is part of a long-term
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commitment to be at the table during negotiations and to be part of the future. >> thank you very much. >> coming from indiana, you can judge people by their actions and by their friends. when it comes to assad, he has a lot of the wrong friends and when you look at the actions with the murder of 70,000 people on the displacement of millions, odyssey the action there are terrible. the challenge we face as policymakers been looking at the opposition in judging their friends, some real challenges as their, and would ask you to expand upon the folks we would like to see.
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i mean this with great respect as policy-makers try to figure out how we make a shot at what can we do to try to help those who would be closer to the kind of government we would like to see post assad. >> let me tell you about the head of the syrian opposition coalition. we talked about the gentleman they elected yesterday. let me talk about the president of the opposition coalition. he is an imam from the largest mosque and in damascus. i have met him many times. i think what most impressed me about him was after we designated the front as a terrorist affiliate of the al qaeda and iraq group, there was a lot of criticism inside syria. that is not a secret. they came right out and said kind of ideologies that he
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they espouse, even imposing a tax on questions which have not been done in the middle east in hundreds of years, these things are rejected, he said. he talked about reaching out to the backbone of assad's remaining support. he said join us, did not fight us, and we are not fighting you. an open letter was written to the syrian christian community. i know it does have a big impact. this is a vision of respect for the dignity of all syrians, a vision of tolerance, coexistence.
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i think the vast majority assyrians really want to believe a debt of that vision.
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the extremist we talked about are a minority but at the violence goes on, those
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extremist voices are getting
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louder. >> with the remaining time i have left, thank you for the
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humanitarian work you're doing. obviously it is very important.
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if you could expand, you mentioned the efforts we are
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making to make sure those being held there recognizable america has played in providing that help.
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if you could just detail that a little bit i would appreciate it. >> we are examining on the case by case basis when and where we might be able to safely brand. we are looking at the ways in which people get their information. we took a trip to the region and intensive regional media arabic-language using things like twitter, skype, podcasting into syria. longally has a full campaign of all the ways we can let the syrian people know that the american people are with
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them in their time of need. goodhearing is a opportunity as well so thank you. >> we went to the studio part of the state department yesterday and spoke to the lead correspondent from syria and a group of journalists try to get information into syria. we do that all the time we are trying to get messages out all -- however we can. >> thank you. mr. vargas is recognized. >> thank you for the opportunity. when i was young, i was always
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disgusted when i saw one of these dictators go into exile. i always thought that was unfair that it would take someone who had done all these atrocities and allow them usually to go to france. you think of him living in a series life with his family. it seems like we have changed those lost. as i have gotten older however, i wonder about the thought process of someone like bashar al-assad. i wonder what he is thinking. and when he is looking into the egypt in the former president there in prison and potentially going to be executed. you said he is going to think it's time to call it quits and go. now we have gotten so tough on these people.
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we do not allow them to exile. we try to hunt them down, put them in jail and do all these things to them. if you can get into his head, what is the thought process going on in his head? this would be better if i give up or do you think roll the tanks? >> i am not a psychiatrist. i have met bashar al-assad twice but i would not say i understand his psychology. i think today he still thinks he can win with help from russia, iran, but i think he must also understand his windows are rattled because the fighting is getting closer. he must be thinking about whether his calculations are correct. we think that syrians will have to decide how to hold him and his ruthless circle accountable. it is ultimately a decision for syrians to make.
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what we have saw to do -- sought to do is help them develop the core facilities to take packages to international standards. you're helping a center which we set up in lyons, france, to do that. >> how realistic is that if you are a dictator and he became the dictator because their father died. your father was a ruthless person. killu think he will people, as many as he can? i think this is one of the issues we have to re-think. is it really worth the murder of 100,000 people, mostly children, or do you let one really horrible human being potentially escape? i do not know. maybe they had it right for centuries before we had are more strict dictate. i put it out there because i thought this was probably what
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mubarak was going to do it also. but this guy of course did. i don't know where else would he go. go ahead. >> two things i would say on this. first, i do not know where he would go either if he decided to flee. there would be a lot of countries that would not take him because of the awful things he is responsible for. but he also has a family, young children, a wife. what will happen to them? finally in the end, i do not think these are decisions americans have to make. these are decisions syrians will have to make because they will have to live with the results.
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we have tried to give them options, to give the capability to deploy if they decide to follow a particular option. i am proud we have given those options and i know they appreciate it. family and he's got to think about them. he has young children, a wife. what's going to happen to them. and then finally, in the end, congressman, i don't think these are decisions that americans have to make. these are we decisions that syrians are going to have to make because they have to live with with the results. what we have tried to go is to give them options, to give them cape i believes to deploy if they decide to follow a particular option. and i'm very proud that we have given them those options. and i know that they appreciate it. >> thank you. thank you very much. >> thank you, mr. vargas. judge poe is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you very much, madam chair. thank you for being here. i was recently in turkey. saw our patriot batteries, the
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dutch batteries on the board with syria and went to the refugee camp there in syria where 150,000 syrians are in turkey. i can tell you i was quite impressed with the way the turks are handling the thousands of people that they have and they're taking care of. i had the opportunity to talk to some of the folks from syria, including the women. i got the impression that the persecution of women, specifically, is not really confined to assad's forces. that it's anybody. it's criminals from foreign countries. it's so-called freedom fighters. it's revolutionaries, it's just bad guys and it's the government, which i think may indicate -- it indicates to me that there are a lot of bad things happening to the civilian population by the people who are involved in the military
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conflict. quick question, mrs. hindborg, is that what you understand or do you think it's confined to the government forces alone? >> first of all, thank you for taking the trip. it's an important symbol to have you visit. and you are absolutely right. this is -- that goes far beyond one side. and i think more than anything else is really emblematic of a global epidemic of violence against women. we see this -- this goes far beyond the borders of syria and if you noted on valentine's day there was a wonderful events called the billion rising, which is women around the globe taking to the streets with music and poetry but making the strong assertion that there's no longer a place on this planet for violence against women. we are working in all the ways that we can to address the symptoms, to provide treatment, counseling, medical care, but at
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the end of the day, there are deep norms that need to be changed around the world. >> okay. appreciate y'all's work on that. you know, if i had my way, we would round up assad and his bandits and take all his criminals and just give them a trial together and put women on the jury and let them decide. but mr. ambassador, i want to come back to you on another issue because my time is limited. appreciate your work. people in the diplomatic field, i've been called a lot of things but a diplomat is not one of them. i want to talk about assad. i met him. i didn't like him when i met him. i don't like him now. he's a bad guy. is the scenario playing out, though, that assad is going to kind of retreat his domain, his regime around damascus and maybe seed the area outside of
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damascus and then hold his ground? can we see like maybe another -- maybe a smaller syria, a smaller assad regime and whoever gets the rest of it is maybe in the way that it plays out? you see that happening? is that his plan, do you think? >> congressman, first, can i just add one point to the women because this is important. we have in the congressional notification, the way we intend to use some of our assistance monies in syria, we will spend approximately $5 million to help the syrian opposition coalition and these local counsels that i talked about in liberated areas, to develop their police forces because law and order as you heard in turkey, is a big issue. and so we need working with partners, i think the germans are going to help us with this. >> excuse me, ambassador, i only have a minute left. could you just answer my question? >> on the question about assad,
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there's two possibilities. we see him pulling forces in. will he hold out in damascus at the end? maybe. but a lot of observers think he might instead retreat to the heartland of the base of his support which would be up along the coast in northwest syria. we're not quite sure which he would do. >> let me reclaim my time. i'm sorry, mr. ambassador. the opposition, when mr. weber was asking you questions. the leading opposition movement, is that an al qaeda affiliate? that an al qaeda affiliate? >> no, absolutely is not. the al qaeda affiliate is a small part of the opposition. it is a small minority. the voice is getting louder. >> is this hassan hito the new prime minister, what is his affiliation with the muslim brotherhood? we heard reports about his affiliation with the muslim brotherhood. what's your opinion? that's my last question. >> i have met him twice,
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congressman, and he struck me as more texan than muslim brotherhood frankly. >> you don't think he is affiliated with the muslim brotherhood? >> i don't know what his political affiliations are. i do know that he also has a tolerant vision of syrian society, is not a religious extremist, far from it, and he has at some self sacrifice gone over to help with the humanitarian crisis in syria. he did not have to do that. >> thank you, madam chair. >> thank you. you had him at he is a texan. mr. marino is recognized. >> thank you, madam chair. good morning, folks. ambassador, you can leave your microphone on. i saw on the news today -- i
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have two main concerns. the innocent people in syria and our good friends israel. i saw today the president getting off the plane and meeting the president and prime minister and kind of reminded me of my daughter's first prom date bringing him to the house to meet me. it was a little tense situation there. be that as it may, what are the chances that hezbollah will remain a potent force in syria and if that's the case, will hezbollah's role in lebanon be affected? >> i think hezbollah wants to remain a potent force in syria. there is no question of that and that's why they are increasing their presence now and they're increasing their system, but i have to tell you, congressman, that when i talked to syrians across the spectrum, those who do not support the government,
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the anger at what hezbollah has done to help the regime is palpable, and so i think the transition government when it comes and the government after that is not going to want a relationship at all with hezbollah like what the assad regime had. >> what is the status of arms transferred to hezbollah today? can you respond to that question? >> i can't go into details here in an open session on the intelligence, but what i can say to you, congressman, is that arms continue to reach hezbollah from iran, but i think also hezbollah's actions in syria suggest to me as do iranian actions that hezbollah is very nervous about their stakes in syria and it will have an impact also on their position in lebanon. >> historically iran, syria, hezbollah, and hamas compromise
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an axis of resistance. to the u.s. interests in the middle east how will the ultimate fall of assad affect iran, hezbollah, and hamas? >> the end of the assad regime will present us with big news, strategic opportunities to stabilize that part of the middle east. iran is losing access to lebanon through syria, will help lebanon, and in addition losing the assad alliance will make it harder for iran to spread its influence through terror groups that have worked with syria and with iran. for us it would be definitely a strategic game. >> ms. richard, can you respond -- i see you have written many articles and opinion pieces and one of the
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areas combatting terrorism. what can we continue to do or do with more strength to address the issues of terrorism, the relationship with syria, and how do we curtail this presently since assad is still in control? >> congressman, i have written in the past about countering financial flows to terrorists and so i am not qualified to answer your question. >> i yield back my time. thank you. >> thank you, mr. marino. mr. lowenthal is recognized. no, sir? now we will go to mr. desantus, my florida colleague. >> thank you, madam chair woman and witnesses. i learned a lot.
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i appreciate it, and i do not believe that assad should survive, doesn't have any leg legitima legitimacy, because i don't think he had it to begin with and i agree with thomas payne on the absurditie of these dicta dictatorships i think he indiscriminately admits any species of character to the authority. i think we see that in north korea where you have kim jung unthere, like a 25-year-old kid and now in charge of nuclear weapons. not the right way to go. ambassador, in terms of the jihadists operating in syria, do you have any idea to what extent these are foreign fighters? are they native syrians? are they a mixture of both? >> the group that concerns us most started out as largely inspired by jihadists from iraq.
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>> and do we suspect that some of those folks may have been actually fighting american forces when we had a larger presence in iraq? >> i think that is very possible. >> now, what type of international support are these foreign fighters, the al qaeda type terrorists getting? i know that zawa is favorable to them. >> they do, congressman, that's one of the things that enables them to attract a lot of recruits. i think a lot of syrians that fight under the banner are not extremists but they can get food and ammunition from them and they have a very well and other extremists have a very well developed network of private finance that moves up to them and that they are able to access. >> if it gets to the point where
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somebody else is going to take over in syria, somebody like iran who is obviously done a lot of business with assad and ally, how would they kind of mediate between some of these groups? i guess i am just asking you to just give me your general opinion, but would they be willing to work with a group like jn or some of these groups or some of these moderate syrian opposition groups? i guess i am trying to figure out how this would affect iran's role in the region. the groups we're talking about, the jihadists, congressman, hate iran, hate it passionately, so i don't think they would ever work with iran. in fact, i would be concerned they will actually go out and kill syrian shia at the end of fighting. that's a different concern. they won't have any truck with iran >> what about the moderate groups? >> people such as the supreme
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military council i think also are going to be so -- well, they already are. they tell us this. they're already to frustrated with iran and so angry at the iranian intervention in many cases it is iranian equipment causing them casualties, i don't think they're going to have a good relationship at all with iran. after this crisis comes to a close and we have a transition of government. >> i guess the final thing that concerns me, seems like in this part of the world when you have different groups potentially jockeying for power, seems like the most militant and violent tends to take the upper hand just because they're willing to do whatever. i guess i am worried that that will happen in this case, one, do you think that that's legitimate fear and, two, what can be done if anything from our perspective, the united states, to shape that outcome in a way that will be better for peace in the region? >> that is exactly our concern,
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congressman. my experience and other countries where i worked such as algeria during their civil war and in iraq, that as the violence grows, extremists profit from that. they benefit from that. they're loud voices and hard line positions, the grandstanding appeals, so we think it is really important, a, to empower people who have a much more tolerant vision of what syrian society should be. we need to target as best we can resource flows that go into these jihadist groups and that is one of the impacts of our designating those, for example, and we have to find ways to help these syrian groups that are inside the areas liberated from government control to provide basic services which will under cut a lot of the appeal that the extremists have and that is why we have notified congress about programs we want to start to
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enable the local councils and the syrian opposition coalition to provide those services. >> thank you. yield back. >> thank you very much, sir. mr. collins of georgia is recognized. >> thank you, madam chair. appreciate it. ambassador ford, you emphasized the need to so lid by the effort of moderates competing for interests with extremist groups and curtail the interests by helping the national and local on significance leaders providing food, water, electricity. i understand you correctly on that, correct? the question comes in is why are we providing so much of this support through u.n. agency that is rely on the consent of assad to actually regime for their access, you have talked about crossing lines and there is support for crossing lines and strengthening the prolonging of the regime by dictating terms of access and they're able to claim credit for providing services to
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their civilians. wouldn't you agree that would be how assad sees that and how -- >> congressman, i am making a huge distinction between helping local council in liberated areas provide basic services, getting chlorine so that public water taps can be turned back on, buying generators so essential buildings will have electricity. that is not the kind of humanitarian assistance provided to people in need in government controlled areas. that's a different thing. there is programs we're talking about, this is the $60 million that secretary carey announced in rome and that we just sent notification of to congress at the beginning of the week and that is to work specifically to strengthen these nascent governing bodies in liberated areas and to help knit together this national opposition leadership with people on the streets. >> you working those through what forms of -- through the
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u.n. transfer or the ngos or doing directly? >> we do that directly. >> directly. >> that has nothing to do with our united nations. >> what i would like to do is defend having the u.n. have a presence in damascus because they're not there to prop up the assad regime, and they're there to make sure the aid gets in. to get visas they have to get them from the ministries that he controls. once they're there, their intention which my judgment fulfilling, is to get aid out to innocent people, wherever they can throughout the country. now, in syria there is no only opposition on one side and only regime control on the other side is more like a checkerboard and they're trying to get it to all of these hard to reach areas and trying to get to people everywhere. let me give you the example of talking the world health organization about vaccinations. it is for two-and-a-half years hard len been vaccination campaigns going on in sirya.
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disease won't respect where the battle lines are. we want the aid in wherever we can using every possible legitimate method we can and the u.n. is playing a very important part of that. >> i find the role of the u.n. can be debated and that's fine and good. i think the issue here is how we are proceeding with the aid that we're sending and how it is going in. i want to flip the question back and i want so associate myself with the general lady from california, miss bass a few minutes ago and talking about the issue of the next ruling and someone elected from not inside the country. i want to continue down that. seems to me we're playing out the same format we have seen many times in many countries especially in the middle east where we're coming in with someone who has been away on the forefront and willing as your words were gave up his work to help in syria. that's noble cause but the legitimacy factor and weakness seems to be a continuing problem here. can you address that a little
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bit more in detail and why are we not just heading down the same road we have headed down before? >> easiest answer to that question, congressman, is we aren't heading in. syrians chose it. we had nothing to do with it. we know him because we were working with him before on gettingsyria, the checkerboard that anne just described and we certainly didn't choose him. we stayed out of it entirely. he was chosen, congressman, by a council of people from both inside and outside syria to play that role. >> doesn't it concern you? >> i understand the question. i don't know that he has a long-term political future in syria. he has been elected for immediate task of managing -- >> we have seen that thought before. we have seen it in afghanistan. we have seen -- i will come to
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help and then we all of a sudden see consolidation of power. we have seen this in other areas, egypt or other places. i understand we're not, quote, putting them there, but i think there is influence -- if we're influencing other ends there is influence that needs to be looked at before hand in this process. this is not an easy topic. i am not asking for an easy postcard answer. i am asking i am afraid we're going down the same path again and i think this is too important for us to miss given the fact of our close relationship with israel and in jordan and the stability in that region and this is not something we can afford to be playing with the next 10 to 20 years. i yield back my share. >> thank you very much, mr. collins, for excellent observations. thank you to our panelists on behalf of chairman royce for explaining the humanitarian crisis going on and ambassador ford, the committee looks forward it continuing the conversation with you about the conflicting reports of weapons, "hemical weapons being used>> "l
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continues. host: in our last hour on wednesdays, we take a look at recent magazine articles as part of our spotlight on magazines series. joining us is jim webb. he wrote a piece recently in " th national interest" magazine, "congressional abdication." guest: i do not title the pieces i write. this was a shout over my shoulder as i left the senate. as i said in the piece, this was not a condemnation. it is an observation. every point at i made in the piece, i had made at some point either on the floor of the senate or in committee areas or through press statements, about the need for congress to have a
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stronger voice in terms of how the constitution is supposed to work with respect to the unilateral authorities that have been exercised by the president, particularly over the period since the iraq war. host: what happened leading up to the iraq war, as we mark the 10th anniversary, and how has it changed? guest: i know yo've had a lot of discussion about the vote that was taken to authorize the use of force in iraq. i was an early voice of warning that this was a strategic blunder, to have moved into iraq the way we did. i wrote a piece for "the washington post" in september, 2002, before the vote. saying, look, folks, there is no exit strategy here because the bush administration does
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not intend to leave. we do not belong as an occupying power in that part of the world. we are going to enable it ran, strengthen it ran, not take down -- enable iran, strgthen iran, not take down iran. i grew up in the military. i served in vietnam. i spent five years at the pentagon as a defense executive and as a marine. my son dropped out of college and fought during some of the harder fighting an infantry man. i was the assistant secretary of defense and secretary of the navy. i spent a great deal of my professional life thinking about these issues and trying to articulate what the proper role should be of the presidency of the military and of the congress. one of the things that we have seen, i think particularly with the advance of technology, the
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remote weapons systems, the increased use of special forces, and the libya example, which i write about in this piece, is that congress has not really had a voice even in the way that it diduring the vote on iraq when it comes to a lot of the ways that military force is being used. i think that is very troubling. if i could have e recommendation right now, it would be that the senate foreign relations committee really strengthened its role, much more ,o than it has played particularly the last four years. let's have a debate over a new war powers resolution, war powers act. in terms of how the executive if it should proceed decides that it wants to use force. host: when did it change? you write about it in the piece.
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test them out one i say in the guest: -- yes >> 1 -- one thing i say in the piece is when powershift, or -- when powers shift, it is sometimes difficult to recognize what powers you do have. it was very different in terms of the jealousy, the proper jealousy it had in terms of this constitutional role. if you look at the past 10 years, particularly the past 4 year s or 5 years, you have a sort of imperfect storm here during the obama administration. you have the republicans, many of whom support thedea of more presidential authority in the use of force, and you have a lot of democrats who don't want to criticize the president. you have a heads and -- you have a hesitancy to have the proper debate.
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the libya example is a very important one to look at. ,ost: congresswoman barbara lee a guest earlier today, pointing to the use of military force after 9/11 after the terrorist attack. "if that was a turning point, it gave too much broad authority to the executive branch." guest: there is some truth to that. we have an inherent right to self-defense as a nation, which allows us to take actions against international terrorist organizations. the way i have always put this, any place in any country that either cannot or will not deal with these elements -- that has been the justification coming out of that authorization for the broader use of force against individual targets. the concern i have is, first of all, we don't know. we don't know the actual
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justifications for that. number one. and number two, in situations libya, you areiike seeing a complete regime change . there were no treaties in effect. there were no american interests directly in effect. there were no americans at risk. you n go right down the list. basically, the decision was made for humanitarian intervention reasons, and the congress never got to play. i was on the floor asking that we get debate and vote on that sort of thing. , wherey the gray area he -- tha's really the gray area, where you have special operations forces, where you have the immediacy of having to respond, but there is no consultation. where is the check and balance? 2001e were to take that
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authorization and the 2002 authorization and throw those into serious hearings and coming -- come up with a new war powers act that examines drones and those things, the country would be a lot healthier for it. congress powers that has because a constitution, you ,rite about that in this piece that people might not be familiar with. guest: in the constitution, the congress has the power to declare war. we rub that up against the notion that the president is the commander in chief. the president is the commander in chief under those theumstances which either congress has declared war or that we have an immediate sense of national defense. terrorist attack. americans captured abroad. imminent threat. cetera, et cetera.
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congress has the power of the purse, but that is a vague power. and congress, in the tradional sense, when the country was first formed, had the power to raise and maintain an army. before wld war i there was never a sense that our country uld maintain a large, peacetime army. . provide for navy there was always the sense that we would have a navy peacetime and wartime because of commerce and what we now call international terrorism at sea. the difficulty in this area right now is, on the one hand, with international terrorism and the need for immediate decisions, we want the president to be able to invoke our inherent right of self-defense.
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on the other hand, there is a subtree slope in terms of humanitarian -- there is a slippery slope in terms of humanitarian interventions where , theses no authority remote weapons systems where you don't have troops on the ground, but you are still committed. syriawhat to do about when the headlines are this morning that chemical weapons allegedly have been used? house intelligence chairman mike rogers saying there is a high probability they were used. guest: i have not seen the intelligence reports, so i don't think that's a good place for me to start when i look at the situation in syria. i would go to a couple of other thread lines that are going through that story. i think it was the front page of "the washington post" today, or it is certainly in "the washington post" today, that the antigovernment forces in syria have a large element of islamist extremists involved in
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them. i was a journalist in beirut in 1993 when the marines were there. when i look at the syrian situation, i see it as beirut on steroids. when i was in beirut, they had at least five different factions that were constantly at odds with each other. the marines were in the middle of that, trying to bring what they called stability to the region, to separate the opposing forces. i remember being out on one outpost when -- with the marines when a firefight began between two elements, then the syrians came in, then somebody else started shooting artillery. a mairine earned around and sai, never get -- a marine turned around and said never get
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involved in a fireside argument. involved ino get syria, the president should not be able to unilaterally decide we should have a proper debate about that. i personally would be very hesitant to get involved in that region for the same reasons i was talking about a rack -- iraq. no ending? guest: do we really want to be an occupying power in that end of the world? there are so many different factions and interests the average american cannot contemplate that are in play in a place like syria. we should be cautious in terms of what we do. host: let's get to phone calls. wendy has been waiting in michigan. independent caller. caller: good morning, mr. webb.
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very enlightening to hear about the enng of the war we are facing. my sense is that we are pulling out and starting to finance. where do we stand with the mercenary army, which from my understanding is taking a of this budget as opposed to vietnam where we had independenth contractors and soldiers took up about 15%. even though our citizens here think, my concern is that they believe our troops are coming home, and at the same time there are contractors bidding for security jobs, for building and certain things. are we as americans going to be funding this? host: you are speaking specifically about iraq? no, actually,
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afghanistan. right now the president is in withl, which right now the gaza strip and everything that just happened back and forth, there is a lot of stuff going on right now that your average people do not realize then we are looking at the mediterranean sea we have to protect with our navy bases. and without imports and freighters -- -- i live in michigan, which comes up on the great lakes. i see freighters coming om russia, from india, transporting. it is a security issue as well. me a really good point that is not discussed often enough. that is how the nature of our involvements in a lot of these countries, particulay iraq and afghanistan, have changed from the traditional way of fighting a war, which is through the military, the active-duty military. we have gone through a series
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of evolutions. when we went into the all volunteer system, we designed what we call the total force concept, meaning we would have a smaller active-duty military, and then the guard and reserve, that would complement it when we had longer engagements. whene got into iraq and afghanistan, we did so with the reality in the congress that the and strengths of the ground were capped at a certain level, so we moved to independent contractors. a lot of them were doing essentially military functions, and a lot of them were doing things we dinot particularly know about, and we could not have full accountability on. at one point, and it may still be true, there were more contractors in iraq and afghanistan than there were military people. some of them just do logistics stuff like running the mess
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halls, food places and this sort of thing. senator claire mccaskill and i back in 2007 created through legislation what was called the wartime contracting mission. we were able to examine the way that these civilian contractors one operating, particularly the financial side. we discovered $60 billion of fraud, waste, and ase in these programs, and we were able, just before i left the senate a few months ago, put together a set of guidelines for d.o.t. and for dod andhe -- particularly the state department. this is something people really need to keep an eye on when they are examining the level of our involvement in places like iraq
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and afghanistan. ,ost: james in cleveland mississippi, democratic caller. james, you are on the air. go ahead. caller: good morning. guest: good morning. am a vietnam veteran, a disabled veteran, as a matter of fact. i have seen war. one of my quesons is about the commander-in-chief. what i would like to know about is something heard about a couple of weeks ago in reference to placing drones over america. what is that all about? whose idea was it? guest: first i would like to thank you for your service in vietnam. i serviced in vietnam as a marine. one of the things people do not appreciate enough in this , with everything else that has been going on the past 10 years, is how hard that war
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was, the vietnam war. i am so glad that we have been and respect credit to the people who served in air rack -- in iraq and ghanistan. my son dropped o of college and enlisted in the marine corps and fought in the mahdi, some of the hardest fighting in iraq. in the year i was in vietnam in 1969, we lost twice as many americans dead as we have lost in iraq and afghanistan as we have in the last 10 years of war. that left me with strong feelings about helping veterans , knowing it is a lifetime once you have had the honor of commanding troops in combat. it one of the reasons that the first day i was in the senate i introduced the new g.i. bill, the post- 9/11 g.i. bill.
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which has given people from iraq and afghanistan the best g.i. bill in history, comparable to the ward war roman to -- the world war ii g.i. bill. with respect to drones, and to onetually goes also of the points i made in is article. one of the real concerns that i have had is we cannot get these issues into the normal structural debate inside a place like the senate. if you look at rand paul's filibuster of a week ago, let's remember two things. he was talking about drones, but ask yourself why. what was he filibustering? -- he wast filibustering a nomination. it seems over and over again the only way people can raise these issues inside the senate
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is to question a nomination, whether it is senator hagel for the a, the confirmation hearing to bring them up, or if you are lucky, to t an amendment on the floor to debate these issues that are really central to our foreign policy, which is what i attempted to do along with senator corker of tennessee with respt to the libya situation. we need to have a full discussion on issues such as drones, and another piece of the drones issue here in the united states -- and this is where i have been aligned in the past with what senator paul, senator lee, and people on the i wouldic side, too -- call libertarians, people who are concerned about individual rights. when you look at the issue of apprehending, taining , iricans on american soil
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believe the language we have used in these authorization bills is very troubling. it does not simply say you can detain an american on american soil if they are involved in terrorism. it says you can detain indefinitely an american on american soil, someone who is a terrorist or is associated with groups known to be terrorists. it is very vague language. any time you are going to wave a ivestitutional -- wa constitutional protections on a speedy trial, you have to be concerned. "senator webb," does the constitution --
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the president would have that authority? guest: the president does not have that blanket authority. , think attorney general holder and clarifying that finally in a letter to senator paul -- at i am pointing out here is that the issue is even broader. dropping a predator bomb on an american -- it is also apprehending them. look back at katrina. that was a pretty eye-opening example of how quickly the rules can change, even in an ordered come a democratic society like our own. even in an ordered, democratic society like our own. in the aftermath of the hurricane, deputy marshals on the street -- there was an announcementhat they were going to confiscate peoples individual firearms from their homes. people for a couple of days were all over the place.
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of loose language that was in the defense authorization last year about detaining someone without trial indefinitely, and not simply proving terrorist acts, but associations. you could use that language pretty loosely. i do not think that is where we need to be. host: from twitter, "it may be magical thinking that war powers can be pulled back. in democracy central power grows, seldom if ever shrinks." guest: i tnk we have seen in the history of our country, you can look back -- in fact, in the 1970's, with a vigorous congress, these powers can be regained, the balance can be regained. that period in the middle 1970's, with the examination of certain cia activities, the war
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powers act itself was passed. there is always going to be a tension between the presidency and the congress. that is healthy. but what we are lacking right now, in my view, is a vigorous has the time, with all the money raising and everything, and the determination to rebalae the process. that is the premise of senator webb's piece. from virginia, an independent caller. caller: good morning, senator webb, and thank you so much for your service. i am a big fan of yours. when you were first elected, you are asked what was going to
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be one of your priorities when you one bank. -- when you won. i was knocked off my seat when you said you would try to revamp the criminal justice system. i said that is so politically unpopular, and to have to say that coming off a victory, i was impressed with you. as the first caller mentioned, the idea of having intellectual conversation and debate without polarization is missing big- time. the senate and the house of representatives is so lacking. i mean, when i look at senators like you, chuck hagel, who left probably for some of the same reasons you are leaving. bill frist, who is a republican. i am talking about people w pragmatically wld put the country's interest first, but
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their pockets and self-interest as far as personal gain at the end of the line, and just go to problem solving. host: senator? guest: i very much appreciate your comment and also your hope here. one of the problems that i think we are facing, reticular to clearly in the areas of foreign- policy, the sort that we have been discussing, is that it is so hard to have the right kind of debate when twitter is the way we are havg the argument. when you have to condense your thoughts into just a couple hundred words, and quite frankly, when money has driven the political process to the point that you really have polarized the nomination ontosses that carry over the senate and house floors. with respect to the issue of executive authority, which was
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the main focus of this article -- i am sure you followed us closely, and you know that i made the same points to the bush administration that i am making to the obama administration, and i madehese points with all due respect to the president weself, with my belief that need to have a healthy balance in our foreign-policy when it comes to the circumstances under which the president should decide that we use military force. you are correct, this is an issue that should not be divided by party or by people who are trying to score points against one administration or the other. it is a very serious issue, one of the three mt serious themes i attempted to focus on when i was in the senate, and that was executive overreach in
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a lot of different ways. with respecto the criminal justice system, i appreciate that comment because when i was running for the senate in virginia, when i started talking about the fact that our criminal justice system is , aan, gosh is broken national disgrace, and is capable of being fixed, i had political advisers pulling me aside and saying you cannot say that in virginia, that it is political suicide. but everywhere i went -- high income areas, areas where people struggled -- people started nodding their heads. point of when someone is apprehended all the way through to what kind of court they go tohow long they are sentenced in prison, what the prison administration is like, what reentry program should look like -- these affect every community. people know th need to be worked on. we spent two and a half years of , we designed a national
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criminal justice commission that after twounsetted years. you bring the best minds into america to fix this whole process. i sat down in my office with my more, and we met with than 100 different groups from across the philosophical spectrum. from lawy-ins enforcement and the aclu. -- this was a $14 million commission. you've us your best emendations. i got up on the symptom -- on the senate floor, and to the gentleman's oink, it was filibustered. online saidview" that this was insane that our
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republican colleagues would $14 million wet could fix the system. we have to work together on the major issues that would fix our country, and this, the issue of should preside initiate military force is one of the key issues where we should be able to come together. host: folks on twitter onto no if you would consider returning to politics. guest: i am taking a year to think about things. host: what are you up to? guest: i am writing a book about the senate. i was asked by my publisher to do what we are calling an early memoir. , arew up in the military very different military, post- world war ii military, all the
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way up to my time in vietnam essentially to the watergate years. i am doing that. , am doing some other things started a consulting company mainly focusing on east asia. i have worked in and out of .ollywood for many years everything you have heard is true. i am discussing a couple of projects out there, too. host: writing another movie, possibly? guest: i have had a couple of discussions. host:neak peek -- what would they be about? guest: not exactly a sneak peek on c-span. this is not a book about the senate. someld like to talk about of my experiences, but this is not a book about the senate.
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host: people aren't nervous watching. pat in alabama, a republican, go ahead. caller: hi. , you mentioned earlier that when you re serving as a journalist in beirut that there were five sides involved in that it appears to me that the same sort of thing is probably happening in syria. i see no advantage to us going in. however, i am wondering -- this may sound heartless, but if he would not be our advantage to arm each side and let them kill each other off. well, with respect to beirut, i could probably count off more than five sides, but there were many -- that part of the world is very historically
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tribal, for lack of a better word. any of those areas, you are going to see retributions, you will have a difficult time if you align with one side and the other. in beirut, one of the things we're were attempting to do, that the united states government was attemptinto do was to create a lebanese national army, that different factions would send their people to. among not really welcomed the other factions, and the united states was -- the military there was viewed essentially with hands-off policies with these different antions until about when element of the new lebanese army went up into the mountains and
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got in a fight, and our naval provided them naval gunfire support. then the word went out that we had picked aside among all these different factions, and a lot of the difficulties -- not all of them -- a lot of the difficulties came from that. so you see that in that part of the world. i mentioned earlier my hesitation with syria, that situation but much more complicated. i think we need to be very careful. democratic boston, caller. the two reasons why the united states invaded iraq, and two reasons only. that was because they wanted to
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, andtize iraqi resources cement the israeli influence in th part of t world, and we see the same dynamic evolving in iraq. perhaps you could tell me about the influence at aipac and others. , ist: well, first of all don't know how we would be interpreting anything i have said as finding the deaths of anyone humorous on a battlefield. i think the observation that the marine made in 1983 summarizes the challenges that we have in that part of the world, and it was, quite frankly, in terms of marine corps gallows humor, a pretty good summation of what the problems are when you put somebody in that environment
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with respect to the invasion of iraq, there are a lot of different strategic schools of that part terms of of the world and whether and how the united states should be involved in it. there are the who believe that it would benefit surity in israel. there are others who believe it would not. thee are others who look at theerences between predominantly shia countries and the sunni countries, d the way that theoundaries in that part of the world were rather tificial drawn -- artificially jaunt around 1920 or so. , remember a great quote winston churchill used to brag that he created the country of
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iraq sitting around one afternoon on a map. there aren't a lot of reasons why that region is -- there are a lot of reasons why that region is so volatile. my viewpoint from the time i was in the reagan administration was that we do not belong as an occupying pow in that part of the world. i question the tilt toward a rack. -- toward iraq. we tilted toward iraq in 1987, and kuwait at that time ironically was the major ally of iraq. later on, we decided that we were going to war against iraq because they went into kuwait. that is how complicated that region is. at is why the united states does not belong as an occupying power.
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we can assert our interest without going through these costly occupations in terms of human costs, nationalreasure bring in a war will cost of $2.2 billion, in terms of our strategy. i wrote in "the washington post" in september of 2002 that china would be looking at our invasion of iraq as an enormous strategic wind tunnel. if you look at the growth of influence from china and its economy, and the deals it has cut in countries such as iran, pakistan, etc., you will see that probably is true. page of "thent washington times" yesterday is how china is the largest exporter of weapons. is that a direct link to what happened? guest: i think if you look at how china has positioned itself
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-- and they have every right to. we are the ones who i think made a strategic error. but if you look at how china has positioned itself economically to take advantage of what is coming out of all this chaos -- afghanistan as wl, pakistan as well. pakistan considers china it's number one friend. strongeru lk at the assertion in east asia of influence, you can see how china has benefited. our office was the leading proponent of what became known as the pivot to east asia while i was in the senate. i spent a lot of time in east -- and weefocused focused as much as we could on strengthening relations with japan, korea, vietnam, singapore, and changing the formula in burma and i led the
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first delegation into burma in 10 years or it -- in 10 years. by going into iraq the way we did, we lost a lot of opportunities in protecting the strategic balance in east asia. here is gene on twitter. "how has the slow outsourcing privatization of our military and government agencies changed our perspective on going to war ?" inst: the biggest changes terms of our perception among going to war, number one, the volunteer system -- so few people feel at risk. there was a survey that came out in the last couple of days that said that only six percent of the people in this country know someone who has been world did that has been wounded or killed in iraq or afghanistan. there is a sense that someone else was taking care of it. it is a lot different waking up in the morning wondering if your kid is dead or alive.
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it changes a lot, i can tell you personally. the types of weapons systems that we are using. this is one reason why i think we really do need to get congress more strongly involved. ands remote, instantaneous, their is not boots on the ground. to thehose -- questioner's point the contracting business, contracting out a lot of the functions is something that is below the waterline. host: joe klein in "time" magazine has called for the resignation of veteran secretary shin seki. do you think he has not late enough of a role in helping in a rack andfghanistan -- in iraq anafghanistan? guest: i believe the most
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important thing that needs to be at rest is the backlog of cases. i was stunned when i came to the senate that the backlog of these cases was 600,000. now it is 900,000. that needs to be fixed. host: senator jim webb, democrat, from virginia. thank you, sir
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>> from the national journal. you argued in a 1999 paper that monetary policy was not the right tool for addressing asset bubbles, but in january, you suggested there might be a role for it, even not as the first line of defense. has your thinking on the issue evolved, and can you explain why? >> i still believe the following switches that monetary policy is a very blunt instrument. if you are raising interest rates to prop up an asset bubble, even if you are sure you can do that, you might in the same time be throwing the
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economy into recession, which kind of defeats the purpose of monetary policy. therefore, i think the first line of defense -- we have three lines of defense -- very sophisticated monitoring at a much higher level and a much more comprehensively and we have in the past, and then we have supervision and regulation where we work with other agencies to try to cover all the on covered areas of the financial system, and in addition, we try to use communication and similar tools to affect the way financial markets respond to monetary policy. we do have some first lines of defense which i think should be used first.
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that being said, i think that given the problems that we've had, not just the united states, but globally in the last 15-20 years, that we need to let least take into account these issues as we make monetary policy. i think most people on the fomc would agree with that. it depends on the circumstances. if the economy is in a weak position and interest rates are low for that purpose, it is difficult to contemplate raising rates a lot because you're concerned about some sector in the financial sphere. on the other hand, if you're in an expansion and there is a credit boom, the case in that situation for making policy will get tighter might be better.
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as i've said many times, i have an open mind. we're learning. all central bankers are learning. i would agree with the point i made in my very first beach in 2002 as a governor at the federal reserve where i argued that the first line of defense ought to be the more targeted tools that we have, including regulatory tools, and to some extent, macro prudential tools, like some emerging markets use. >> thank you, mr. chairman. as intense as i might want to end on the n.c.a.a. picks, in light of what john asked, given the unprecedented nature of fed policy and the uncertainty around the equity strategy, how much do feel personally responsible to be at the helm when the decisions are made? how does that affect your future?
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at the last press conference, you said you had spoken to them you said you had not spoken to the president about your future. can you tell us whether or not you had that conversation? >> i have spoken to the president a bit, but i do not have any information for you at this juncture. i do not think that i am the only person in the world who can manage the exit. in fact, one of the things i hope to accomplish, and was not entirely successful at, as a governor, or chairman of the federal reserve, was to try to de-personalize monetary policy and raise recognition of the fact that this is a distinguished institution. we have a dozen -- dozens of ph.d. economists were trying to
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understand these issues and implement our policy tools. there is no single person who is essential to that. again, going back to my personal plans, i will certainly let you know. thank you. >> thank you. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] >> percent judiciary committee examines the use of domestic drones. "washington journal" on the 2014 federal budget proposals. at 9:00 a.m., u.s. house returns for the 2014 budget. a senate committee holds an oversight hearing on the
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homeland security department with officials testifying about spending at the agency. live at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c- span three. a field hospital was to be created for each division and personnel and equipment. is over, there is only one place per division or core that the wagons with supplies need to go. the same thing has to be prepared for the army medical corp. getvacuate the wounded and them to the right place and have enough supplies and get them treated there has to be a system. they transported the wounded two close to then
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battlefield be a stretch of. -- stretcher. when the front berra stepped off of his left foot, the rear had to step off of his right to decrease the jostling of the patient and to be facing forward and get across difficult .errain with rocks and boulders >> this weekend on american history tv, that'll filled medicine on gettysburg -- battlefield medicine in gettysburg. >> next tuesday and wednesday the soprano court hears arguments in the california same-sex marriage band and the federal defense of marriage act. both night starting at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. they hired an expensive carriage. she dressed herself and went to the present where the matter
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was being held. she held that she met with madame lafayette and made her case a public one. some stories say the next day she was released. it was a couple of months. it kept her from going to the guillotine and lead to a release. >> she has her own cause. she works with the washington the mill often -- female ophan society. in her parlortics in such a way as to help win the presidency for her husband and her own way. >> conversation with historians on elizabeth monroe and weasley catherine adams is available on our website c-span.org/ firstladies.
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domestic drones hold anonymous -- enormous public safety issues. congress is investigating whether new laws need to be written to keep up with privacy concerns. this is one hour and 45 minutes.
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>> we are having budget and other matters. we will be going in and out of this hearing.
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had breakfast this morning with the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff general dempsey. is on domestic nonmilitary use of drones. on the use of drones has focused on the lethal targeting of suspected terrorist including americans. i have concerns about the constitutional and legal implications of such targeted killings. we have requested all of the material on that. i spoke with senator durbin who in theair a hearing constitutional subcommittee that will examine these issues carefully. beginning of this congress i am convinced that the domestic use of drones to
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collect surveillance and other information will have an impact on the lives of millions of americans. aviationst decade, has revolutionized to make the technology cheaper and available. many law-enforcement agencies and private companies and and individuals have expressed interest in operating drones in the national airspace. we are not talking about the life partner drones used by the military or along our borders. lightweightmaller unmanned vehicles. we will hear testimony about that. the one that is going to come up is from the mesa county
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.heriff's office that weighs about two pounds. with the federal aviation administration estimates 13,000 drones will operate by the end of the decade. we have to consider the policy implications of this emerging technology. about the unique advantages of using the unmanned and crafts. he carry out dangerous tasks that would be expensive or difficult for humans. additional law enforcement surveillance. it will be used for experience, agriculture, geological surveying, pipeline maintenance,
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and search and rescue operations. there are many valuable uses. it raises serious concerns about the impact on the constitutional and privacy rights of all americans. the department of homeland security through customs and border protection's operate modern unarmed drones to patrol parts of the southern border and to support drug efforts by law enforcement. a number of local om -- agencies them forored using operational surveillance. those raise questions regarding ws,quacy, privacy lars , under whate circumstances should law a searchnt obtain
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warrant? no drones in the u.s. are yet organized. the equal enforcement -- this extends beyond the limited law enforcement. them in theallow investigative space. we have to consider the impact on the privacy rights of americans. has week, one company pushed to gather data on americans. it led to over collection and potential privacy violations. a scan of amateur videos on the internet demonstrates how prevalent the technology is .ecoming among private citizens a small, quiet, unmanned
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aircraft can be built to purchase online. .i definition video cameras it is not hard to imagine the travesty problems this type of technology could cause. in vermont, we protect and guide our privacy. this is raising some very serious questions from people from the far right to the far right. we cannot take a shortsighted view. anhnology will advance and incredible rate. i hope this hearing will be the beginning of the dialogue. issues,us committees we have invited witnesses who testified for a variety of perspectives -- law enforcement , the head of the leading
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unmanned the goal -- vehicle group. a scholar who studied intersection of drones technology with privacy and fourth amendment law. >> before going to my statement, listening to you, i believe i can summarize by saying i don't believe there's any differences between your concern and my concern on this issue and so i'm glad to have that working relationship on this issue. as we examine drone technologies, we work to properly balance privacy and public safety. there's tremendous benefits for society from drone technology. the technology can help first responders quickly identify the nature and scope, for example,
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forest fire, natural disaster. it may help police respond more quickly in cases involving hostage rescue, missing children, child abduction. with drones carrying advanced technology that provide facial recognition, license plate recognition, biometric investigation, important investigative leads can be pursued rapidly. an area where drones may be of particular use is helping secure our vast borders. drone technology is now becoming part of a border security strategy. drone technology can help increase our security on the border while reducing the costs to our taxpayers. the government looks to secure our border. so i plan to continue discussions with homeland security about their use of it this technology and make sure we're maximizing it. on the civilian side, many questions about drone technology remain. drones can go almost anywhere and have surveillance with some equipment for days.
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they carry sophisticated technology, greatly enhancing surveillance. the potential benefit of drone technology is limited only by imagination. we must always remember the power of new technology creates greater responsibility to respect the privacy of our citizens. while drones can expand the reach of a criminal investigation, they can also create an increased risk of invading privacy. we need to make sure we have legal safeguards in place while balancing public safety. we need to consider where government -- what government constitutionally can do. we should examine what limitations are appropriate to protect our privacy. just because the government may comply with the constitution does not mean they should be allowed to constantly surveil like big brother. the thought of government drones
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buzzing overhead monitoring the activities of law-abiding citizens runs contrary to the notion of what it means to live in a free society. the fourth amendment has the consistent meaning, but the tests for determining whether fourth amendment rights have been violated have changed aztec nothing changes. the physical trespass is necessary. for more than 40 years after that, the inquiry has been whether an individual's reasonable expectation of privacy has been violated. the recent supreme court case of u.s. vs. jones examined whether advanced technology is so intrusive that it becomes a trespass in violation of the fourth amendment. that case is a good starting point for discussion on drones. example, innovations in communication technology, such as mobile devices, have exposed private information to public scrutiny, information once closely guarded is now easily accessible via the internet on simply hand-held mobile devices.
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these developments and the ability of drones to provide unprecedented surveillance may lead to new standards establishing fourth amendment violations. the use of drones for law enforcement also raises a new challenge for prosecutors. both the chairman and i have at times referred to the famous speech of robert jackson delivered as he was attorney general. in that speech jackson pointed out that it is possible to find at least a technical violation of criminal law on the part of almost anyone. good prosecutors will use these powerful new surveillances' tools wisely, however, not all prosecutors are as responsible as we expect them to be. and our oversight responsibilities will be even more important aztec nothing evolves.
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i've always -- i've -- as technology evolves. i've already started asking questions. when the attorney general appeared before the committee, i asked whether the department was using or planning to use drones for law enforcement purposes. to date, i haven't received an answer. this, even after another appearance before us this month. it is very important that the american people know whether and how their justice department is going to use these machines. failure provides answers about the use of this technology is very concerning as well. it may well be subject for further legislation. that's something that the chairman and i obviously will discuss. that is why this hearing is so important. to answer these questions. these questions i can't give you because we don't have time.
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but whether we draw the limit regarding the use of drones by government agencies, where do we draw that line? under what circumstances do we require a search warrant? should police use drones only for surveillance? should local governments be allowed to use drones to search for traffic violations and building code violations? should the federal government be allowed to use drones to follow around disability claims to see whether they're fraudulent? what reasonable limitations are appropriate for where and when to use drones? additionally, in examining the use of drones by the congress, congress also needs to -- by the government, congress also needs to limit the use of drones by private citizens in the private sector. where do we draw the line in balancing the media's rights
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under the first amendment or the citizens' right to be protected from invasion of privacy? another area to examine is innovative use of drones and so coming from a rural state, as the chairman does, we have a lot of agriculture. drones can be used by farmers to be provide a bird's eye view of a farm and help survey crops quickly for early signs of pests or disease. drones may be able to spray crops to maintain their vigor, prevent theft. these are cost saving benefits to agriculture. but no farmer would appreciate government drones playing the role of big brother. and no one wants drone technology to end up in the hands of our harassing neighbor, child predator, stalker, drug dealer, violent criminal or terrorist. these are challenges we face and balancing privacy, public safety and this is a very appropriate hearing for this committee to have.
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thank you, mr. chairman, for your leadership. >> thank you very much. our first witness is ben miller, who's probably listening to what we're saying here and wondering where this might lead. he's a 13-year veteran of the sheriff's office in mesa, county. he's part of the mesa county sheriff's office, unmanned aircraft program manager. a designation you would not have seen in many sheriff's offices just a decade ago. he's a representative of the airborne law enforcement association. he's assisted the federal aviation administration with developing regulations regarding the public use for unmanned aircraft systems. what i'm going to do is put all
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statements in the record as though read in full, but if you'd like to summarize, please, mr. miller, we'd appreciate it. >> is it on? >> yeah. >> well, good morning, chairman leahy, and members of the committee. my name is benjamin miller, unmanned aircraft program manager with mesa county sheriff's office and representative of the airborne law enforcement association. thank you for inviting me to speak about the use of unmanned aircraft in the small colorado community where i live. the mesa county sheriff's office is a middle-sized agency about 200 people with a patrol team of just 65 deputies. these deputies serve approximately 175,000 citizens who live inside a 3,300 square mile county. we see a wide range of criminal activity from petty offenses to drug trafficking and homicide. we've flown more operational hours than anyone else in the country with 185 hours and just over 40 missions. with two small battery operated unmanned aircraft systems, that's a lot considering the dragon fly requisites, as this one on the table, is a backpack-
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sized helicopter which can can fly for only 15 minutes and weighs two pounds. falcon can fly for over an hour and fit in the trunk and can -- and you can buy the very same camera that we put on the dragon flier at wal-mart. i want to show you brief examples of how we use this equipment. my first example occurred last may when a historic church caught fire. we were allowed to show the hot spots which needed to be properly extinguished. firemen were able to assess the situation and address it accordingly as these areas were not viewable to the naked eye. we flew about 600 feet in the air and took pictures that the arson investigators were determined to tell which way the fire went through the building. my next example when a 62-year- old woman went missing. we launched the falcon. we were able to cover large areas in a short time which
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would normally take longer, involve more resources and cost more money. the woman's body was recovered. the use of falcon allowed us to more directly apply resources in that recovery effort. my final example occurred just days ago, really doesn't have a whole lot to do with law enforcement but it does offer a glimpse in the benefit of unmanned aerial systems and that is affordability. mesa county spends nearly $10,000 of a survey of our landfill to determine an increase in waste over the previous year. my team and i completed that survey for a mere $200. by flying back and forth over the landfill we were able to combine the photos that we took with geographic references data and provide a volume of the landfill to an accuracy of 10 cubic centimeters. while they fly sometimes days we fly just minutes to photograph a crime scene and cannot exceed an hour of flight time. the f.a.a. have strict protocols that allows us to fly during the day and we cannot fly more than 400 feet off the ground. while military unmanned aircraft are both large in size and cost, our equipment is small and relatively inexpensive.
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our equipment does not possess the capability to carry sensors that can read license plates from space or look through your home or carry weapons. just recently, i was on the airborne law enforcement association's website and found a 1934 photo of an airborne police officer in a gyro helicopterer. aviation and public safety have a longstanding relationship. while unmanned aircraft cannot recover a man in a river, they i estimate unmanned aircraft can complete 30% of the missions of manned aviation for 2% of the cost. the mesa county sheriff's office projects direct costs of unmanned flight at just $25 an hour. as compared to the cost of manned aviation that can range from $250 to thousands of dollars an hour.
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it costs one cent to charge the battery that we use inside our system. my agency's use of unmanned aircraft is primarily for search and rescue and crime scene reconstruction but it must be said that every tool can be abused. it didn't begin with unmanned aircraft. while the use of manned aircraft requires specific policies and procedures, the handling of sensitive photographs and video has been around law enforcement for years. i can speak to a strong code of conduct policy inside my own agency that addresses more than just the use of unmanned aircraft. leadership organizations like the international association of chiefs of police, have recently released unmanned aircraft policy guidelines that encourages agencies to adopt nonretention policies whereby the information we collect that is not determined evidence is deleted. these guidelines have also been endorsed by the airborne law enforcement association and it is with their guidance that agencies like mine are developing robust policies, quality training tools and professional unmanned aircraft programs.
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in closing, you i hope my testimony have offered a realistic opportunity of the benefits of unmanned aircraft. thank you for the opportunity. >> thank you very much. our next witness is amie stepanovich. did i pronounce it correctly? >> stepanovich. >> stepanovich. sorry. director of the domestic surveillance program. her work is specifically focused on the fourth amendment and drones surveillance. received her j.d. from new york law school, bachelor of science degree from florida state university. please go ahead. >> thank you, chairman leahy, ranking member grassley, and members of the committee for your leadership on this area. in our statement today, epic recognizes that drones have tremendous positive uses in the united states. however, when drones are used to obtain evidence or gather
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personal information about identifiable individuals, rules are necessary to ensure that fundamental standards for fairness, privacy and accountability are preserved. recent records received by epic under the freedom of information act demonstrate that the bureau of customs and border protection has outfitted drones with technology for electronic signals and interception and human identification. law enforcement offices across the country have expressed interest in the purchase and use of drone technology. records released shows that law enforcement in texas, kansas, washington are using drones. the florida police chief's association has expressed interest in using drones for general crowd surveillance and law enforcement in the state of texas have expressed interest in using nonlethal weapons on drones. as the chairman has indicated, the privacy and security concerns arising from drones issuance ofaddressed.
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a license should be contingent on the completion of these reports. penalties should ensure compliance with what has been reported. warrant requirements should the mandated for law enforcement use with narrow exceptions. and to further bolster the requirement, broad and untargeted you should be prohibited. infringes onthat property rights. a federal statute recognizing the capability for individuals within the home. all operations should be subject to audit and oversight.
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thank you for the opportunity to testify. let's our next witness is the present and ceo of the association of unmanned vehicle systems and the national nonprofit. to promote unmanned vehicles. bachelor of science degree in civil and environmental engineering from the university of rhode island. once the votes starts, we will keep the hearing going. leaving.ake turns will keep it going so this can continue. >> good morning. fornt to thank you inviting me to testify here today. i organization the association of unmanned vehicles
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international is the largest nonprofit organization devoted to advancing the unmanned systems and the robotic community. we have more than 7500 minuets --memebebers,. the technology will benefit society and the u.s. economy. earlier this month my organization released a study that found that the unmanned aircraft industry is poised to and $30. 000 new job billions within the first three years. understands that this technology is new to most americans. their opinions are being formed .y what they see in the news this is an opportunity to address the misconceptions about the technology and discuss how it will be used for domestic applications.
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"drone."use the term ua.s.'s. includes the technology on the ground with the human at the controls. is nothing unmanned about unmanned systems. the term carries with it a hostile connotation and does not reflect how u.a.s.'s being used domestically. to performed dangerous and difficult tasks more safely and more efficiently. they are used to assess flooding in the red river in the upper midwest. they are used to help battle wildfires in california. they are being used to study everything from hurricanes in the gulf of mexico, tornadoes, and volcanoes in hawaii.
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theke military u.a.s.'s systems most likely to be used by public safety agencies are small. they weigh less than five pounds with limited flight duration. you saw two examples here. is ar weaponization, it nonstarter. the faa prohibits deploying weapons on any civil aircraft. we do not support the weaponization of civil u.a.s. 's. i want to correct the misconception that there is no regulation of domestic u.a.s. 's. unmannedegulates aircrafts. if a public entity wants to fly one, they must obtain a certificate from the faa. in.s.'s are generally flown the line of sight of the
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operator lower than 400 feet and during daylight. it is a violation of faa regulations to fly a u.a.s. for commercial purposes. them for lawn enforcement, it is in port and to recognize the legal framework in place in the fourth amendment and decades of case law. we will have discussions of the fourth amendment and how it involves. i appreciate you telling us what we should call them. decision to us. you can call them whatever you would like. we have the president of the university of the washington school of law.
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could loosely served as director. mr. kato, please go head. for thisyou opportunity to testify. . am a law professor i am here to answer your questions. i will not read my testimony that you have on the record. folks are worried about the drones.and location of they are well-founded. drones tried down the cost of surveillance. we worry that the incidence of surveillance will go up. sermons are legitimate because there is very little in american privacy law that would limit domestic
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use for surveillance. no privacy in public or from a public vantage. there is no privacy in contraband. the idea is that drones fly around with chemical sensors and the department of homeland security. they fly around with chemical sensors looking for trace amounts of drugs. the limits on private individuals -- that is a valid law enforcement. you is anything -- probably are. you have the issue of the first amendment, which may push back against limits on drones by the press. the best way to address this issue with two be to drag our
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doctrines into the 21st century. one measure we should consider is that the faa would kick the tires on privacy as part of his licensing process. we should be careful about passing a national law. this inadequacy of privacy law not justlem that is limited to drones. .> thank you for summarizing mr. miller, i appreciate you being here, especially as you are the manager of one of the only law enforcement programs in to operate a domestic drone. i appreciate what you said about understanding constitutional safety privacy concerns. it will ever
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appropriate for law enforcement agencies to on a drone with lethal weapons? >> absolutely not. in the four years of research into our program, we have not seen anything that would present that as a tool that would be usable. >> do you get that same impression from colleagues? >> absolutely. >> what about nonlethal weapons? >> that has been brought up before. , combining the risks those two risks is not the most responsible. has a drone you showed me short duration it can be aloft. do you think there will be drones law enforcement can use
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in the future -- things like for persistent surveillance or tracking? hours of tracking? >> that is not affordable. why we use them is because they are affordable. they are cheap to operate. the persistent surveillance capability is not new and unmanned aircraft. we can do a persistent surveillance mission with manned aircraft. the need for it is low. 13 years, i do not know of a persistent surveillance operation. has drone technology become
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more advanced? usejust the government to -- mr. miller has spoken on that. privateity of companies and individuals to intrude on the privacy of americans. what do you say to the most significant -- what do you say is the most significant privacy domestic use of drones? what would it be? >> the most significant trends -- significant privacy threats of domestic use. >> one of them will be the persistent surveillance. need for never been a it. we saw in the united states lawus jones that
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enforcement has conducted persistent surveillance using other technologies and that will be a significant consideration. breakthe faa prohibited relating individual use of drones there will be an issue with stocking -- stalking, harassment, and other crimes perhaps by corporations as well. >> does congress have a role to play in this area? >> yes, i do believe they have a significant role to play. at drones have looked surveillance laws. over 30 states have introduced legislation. congress can provide nationwide- based privacy standards to ensure that individual rights and civil liberties are protected. >> thank you.
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i will submit a question for the record. i would appreciate if you would respond. you talked about supreme court cases regarding the of aerialonality surveillance. do you believe that body of supreme court cases are adequate for guarding the courts and law enforcement in the area of unmanned surveillance? i think theyure are adequate for purposes of man surveillance. with unmanned surveillance, there is an additional danger that as costs go down you see more. i am not sure that they are adequate. they need to be updated. >> inc. you very much. >> the supreme court has held observations made by while
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following a maned aircraft over a person's property does not violate the fourth amendment. conductere allowed to surveillance over private property at heights ranging from 400 feet to 1000 feet. low must a joan fly over a low mustrophecy -- hwopow prorone fly over private perty. were to if a drone trespass, that would trigger the fourth amendment. it used to be that you own all of the air right up until the heavens and down. the reality of commercial air flight -- you can only own the property up to the area you can enjoy. yourdrone flew close to
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house, you could argue trespass. a few hundred feet above what not. i am not sure there is a distinction drawn between the capability of hovering. helicopters can help her. i am not sure that would be seen as a distinction of a constitutional moment. about the samek issue. how low do you think a drone can fly before impacting the fourth amendment? >> i agree with the statement. the 400 foot mark was indicated by the supreme court because in a case that was the height that the helicopter in question was flying at. it is an open question on if surveillance vehicles would be included in the reasonable expectation of privacy and personal trespass. does the addition of
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technologies such as facial recognition, thermal imaging equipment affect whether there is a reasonable expectation of privacy under the fourth amendment? it does. we have a case involving thermal imaging where we needed a war a warrant or search for officers to look into your house and see intimate details. if one concern i have is drones were to fly around and not feed images to law enforcement but just detect chemicals or scanner for unusual patterns, under the dog sitting cases given that they are only looking for evidence of illegal activity but that trigger a search under the constitution? that is an open question. the invasive technology you
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listed that drones are designed to carry what impact an individual's reasonable expectations of privacy. in regard to the chemical or is technology being developed by the calledent of defense terahertz technology. i can scan for chemical traces down to small choices that you may have come into contact with accidentally. evil can be triggered as potential -- people can be triggered as potential targets. individuals and commercial companies are allowed to use drones -- if utilities use them to detecting meters or obtain video on private property, are there limitations on whether law enforcement can ding those videos to absolute a warrant? >> unless the officers
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instructed the private individuals to do surveillance, no, they would not need a warrant for that. to fourth amendment applies state actors. there are limitations that will apply to private parties and not the government. surveillanceerial case involving trade secrets that was thought to violate law although it did not violate the fourth amendment. regard to the first amendment, i have several restaurants. with regard to commercial applications, we have heard concerns about the use of private data are collected by companies for advertising or other business purposes. what restrictions on private data collection by corporations exist? the first amendment should not apply any differently in terms of gathering information. it is about what people are allowed to say mostly.
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there have been cases that suggest that you have a right to photograph police and public. it is a mixed picture. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. i have real concern about drones being used commercially inside america. i know with drones can do. started out with a seductive thing that it can produce large amounts of new jobs. we would all like that to happen. i have seen drones and do all kinds of things. kinds of things bring on great caution. we have to look to what purposes can drones be legitimately used. you monitor their use?
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how do you certify the equipment? things can be added. it may not be legal to carry any ammunition on a drone. what can be done it legally and how can the government prevent that from happening? -- what outability to can they fly? what kind of racial recognition are they capable of? -- what kind of facial recognition are they capable of? can they take pictures of an individual inside their home? their business? on the property in which they live? drones are hard to spot for the untrained eye. your ability to protect yourself is not great. you have outlined a
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legitimate use for drones, which is a careful litany of law enforcement functions. i assume there is some force fire issues for which you could use a ronedroene. have been through the process to operate an unmanned drone. can you describe the process? how rigorous is it? how long did it take your office to gain approval for its c.o.a.? what conditions should be placed on the granting of law enforcement use of drones? >> that is a key point of the conversation. .he process was rigorous, long it took us approximately eight to get the certificate
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that allows us to fly. it allows us to fly in the daytime up to 400 feet off the 'sound -- >> are your u.a.s. certified? or your remote pilot certified? .hat no. -- > no the airframe has been through a rigorous process to make sure all of the components are produced responsibly out of good materials and they pass the test. that is not the case and the system. whether the apartment has passed the certification process to make sure it will not ball out of the sky. oris one of certification risk mitigation operation. worst-casem -- scenario is falling out of the
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sky which it has never had. it is low risk. it is two pounds and cannot cause a lot of damage. we operate over defined incident perimeters. do not cross.e if we are on a crime scene, the public will not walk through it. onlye over top of participatory people. that means our staff. that is the direction the faa is taking and allowing us to fly the equipment because it is low risk. anytime we flew, there was at least one life at risk. >> is there any regulation that indicates additions you must -- the distance you must be from any airplane, commercial or private, small or large? regulations have distances in
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place. the issue here is that we cannot fly above 400 feet off the ground. that is the lower limit for everybody else. 500 feet off above the ground. there is a 100-foot offer. >> my time is up. i was going to ask mr. toscano the industry in figure out how to create an unmanned aircraft that can safely detect, sense, and avoid other aircraft? >> the faa has been mandated by september 2015 to assure
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integration of unmanned air systems into the national airspace. that is a safety requirement. that is an essential part. technology is being developed that will be certified to assure that they are saved. there is a range -- am talking about the situation where a pilot landing a commercial jet set ica drone. do you know where that john was from and what it was doing? >> no. they have not classified what it was. they have not been finally determined what it was the pilot saw. i am not trying to be flippant. thattalk about sightings are inaccurate. until we we find out the details, it could have been a
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model plane or other things that we do not know about. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. is toscano -- the faa required to establish unmanned aircraft system test ranges within the united states. the faa has requested proposals to create the test sites. you taught at the largest public university in my home state. they are headlining an alliance that is one of the candidates for the sites. are you familiar with this aspect of the one to 12 act? how do you see the sights and the testing as contribute into the desert regulations we might need in the -- how do

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